In most compensation claims following an accident at work, a solicitor knows who to address the claim to as the company will still be in business and operating at the same place. However, if a claim is delayed it can lead to problems. If you left a company after an accident at work and didn’t pursue your claim for months, the company could have moved premises or even ceased trading.
Whilst you can still pursue a claim against a company which has moved, it means that your solicitor will have to waste time tracking them down. This may seem easy, but it’s not always a simple process. For companies that have ceased trading or gone in to liquidation, it can be even harder, but there is still an opportunity to pursue your claim for personal injury compensation.
Companies in administration
If you were injured working for an employer that was already or now is in the process of an official administration at the hands of an appointed administrator, it is likely that a claim can still be made. Whilst the right to claim remains, the prospects of success are likely to be smaller than otherwise for reasons that I will explain.
If we consider claiming compensation for an injury after an accident at work from a company in administration, it will still be possible for your solicitor to liaise with the administrators who become the defacto 3rd party. The likely outcome of any claim being made against the employer will depend on whether the administrator can confirm that the employer had complied with their responsibilities to hold valid employee liability insurance and if so, what level of excess stands on the policy.
If insurance was in place before the company went in to administration and the costs of the insurance had been paid, the policy would remain effective and a claim could still stand. However, the excess cost would then become an issue. With employee liability insurance, it is common for excess amounts to be a 4 figure sum – ranging from £1000 right up to 5 figure sums. With this in mind, if an administrator confirms a high excess, it could mean that the amount of money the excess forms would be higher than the value of the claim that you may make. As the administrator will not be able to pay the excess for any claim to be made, the claimant can opt to sacrifice the excess from their claim value and then retain the balance. This can work fine if the value of a claim substantially outweighs the excess amount. For example, if you had a claim that had a value of £10,000 in compensation, but the excess was only £1000, it would still be worth claiming as you would then stand to receive £9,000 before your legal costs were deducted, leaving you with £6,750 in settlement. Whilst this may seem unfair (and it is!) it is better than having nothing.
However, if your claim settlement was worth £1,000 and the excess was also £1,000 it would not be worth pursuing the claim, unless you really wanted to prove a point. It is also unlikely that a solicitor would continue to pursue the claim on a conditional fee agreement basis.
Companies who have ceased trading
If you attempt to make a claim against a company who have ceased trading, it may still be worth making a claim against them. However, it is important to be honest and realise that it is not likely to be a simple process or a speedy one, and that finding a solicitor to pursue the claim on a conditional fee basis could prove very difficult.
Companies who no longer trade have no active staff, therefore requests for information will not be answered and therefore finding out who their insurers were and whether they had cover may be impossible. Most companies are limited companies and this means that if the company is closed, you cannot claim against the business owners or directors as they are not personally responsible for the losses or costs of a business.
What to do if you think you fall in to this category of claim
If you believe that the company that you wish to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation against has gone in to administration or no longer trades you obviously won’t know where you stand until you get some specialist help. Why not contact us and let us do some investigations for you. We’ll be able to find a solicitor willing to look in to the claim and they can then evaluate the likely outcome should any claim be made. Remember, it costs you nothing to look in to claiming or making a claim for personal injury compensation. There is nothing to pay if the claim doesn’t succeed, so you have nothing to lose.