Does any accident at work give grounds to claim personal injury compensation?


Whether you work in a dangerous profession such as mining or in a relatively safer place like an office, there is a chance that you could suffer a personal injury. Accidents at work vary in severity, we’ve dealt with claims from office workers who have suffered concussion after objects fell on their head, through to very serious injuries such as a worker severing a finger, or where employers breach health and safety rules and a worker dies as a result.

However, just having an accident at work is not enough to guarantee compensation as to make a claim after an accident at work, the injured employee must be able to demonstrate that the employer was liable and exposed the staff to risk of injury rather than it being their own fault.  The injured party wishing to claim must also ensure that the details of their accident and injuries have been correctly reported and recorded.

Taking responsibility – who is at fault?

Employees and employers alike are bound by the rules of the Health & Safety at Work Act. Both parties must ensure that their actions do not put others at risk, with the employers having responsibility for training and equipment management/usage. To answer the question, ‘does any accident work enable a claim for accident at work, personal injury compensation?’ The answer is a definitive no, as not every injury warrants a claim!

As stated, to succeed in claiming accident at work compensation from an employer, the injured party would have to demonstrate that their employer failed to ensure their safety in the workplace, that they breached health & safety protocol and could have avoided the accident if they had done things properly.

For example, let’s take a worker in a factory, using potentially dangerous machinery to do their job. Unfortunately, the employee has had a really nasty accident with the machine and will be off work for quite a while. Is he entitled to make a no win no fee claim for personal injury compensation? Here are two scenarios, the first where the injured party would NOT be entitled to claim and the second, where they would.

Why they would NOT be entitled to claim

A worker works in a factory for a company. The worker was properly trained by their employer to use a dangerous machine safely and the training was regularly repeated. The worker’s use of the machine was also monitored on occasion by a supervisor.

The employer also made sure that the machine was fit for purpose with regular servicing and had all the relevant parts fitted such as a safety guard. The employer gave the employee the correct equipment to do their job safely, provided the employee with all the relevant protective clothing and did not pressurise the employee in to cutting corners by not using their training, work practices and equipment provided.

The staff member then opted to NOT follow the instructions of the employer, or use the safety equipment that had been provided and had a nasty accident and injury from the machine as a result (such as removing the safety guard to enable quicker working and crushing or lacerating their hand/arm). In this case, the injury and accident would entirely be the fault of the employee and not the employer. Therefore, the employee would not be entitled to claim accident at work compensation.

Why they WOULD be entitled to claim

A worker working in a similar factory, but for a company that hasn’t provided the employee with any training to use the machine, hasn’t provided relevant safety clothing and equipment and doesn’t service the machine to check it is safe to use. If the employee then gets injured, crushing and lacerating a hand because they were allowed to use a dangerous machine without being given the knowledge of how to do so safely, the employer would be in trouble and fully liable. The claimant would have had a nasty accident at work and be completely entitled to make a claim for compensation.

It comes down to sensible management of potential dangers. Hopefully, you have found this information useful to you when deciding about your claim for accident work compensation. If you’ve had an accident at work, find out what to do next or contact us and we’ll help you to get the justice you deserve.

25 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

  1. Hi. I work for a drinks distributor. I had to do a delivery and the way my company tell us to do it is walk backwards and put the keg of beer which is around 80kg down one step at a time whilst walking back.The steps were really small as my feet were overhanging on everyone,Was about 15 step and I fell 4 from the bottom straight onto my back with the keg nearly hitting me. I didn’t have any lasting injuries just a jolted back which lasted 2 weeks. Spoke with a solicitor and they said the legal costs would be more than the claim is worth? Is this correct as they should never expect us to walk backwards with 80kg down 15 steps . Thanks

    • I can only assume that the Solicitor you were talking with was not a Personal Injury specialist and not working on a No Win No Fee basis? Although your injuries were minor, there could still be a claim worth pursuing here.

  2. Hi. I’m a train conductor and during my shift I stepped off the train and fell down the gap. I fractured 3 metatarsals and was off work for 3 months. I don’t know how I did it it was a pure accident. My employer has an ‘average earnings scheme’ for loss of overtime etc when off work, but I don’t qualify as they are implying it’s my fault. I know it’s not my employers fault either, but it happened on work time on work premises. Do I have any case at all? Cheers for the advice.

    • You would have a valid claim if you could establish that the cause of your injury rests with employer negligence – such as damaged or broken work equipment or a hazardous or disrepaired section of platform at the station in question. If you can not identify any such issue, it is unlikely that you could pursue a claim.

  3. Hi, I fell at work ( outside of the building). The wind had blown the snow shovel from up against the fence to the pavement. The security light was not working, so didn’t see the shovel laid on the ground. I tripped over the shovel, fractured my 5th metacarpal ( left hand) and cracked a couple of ribs. I wore a cast for 4 weeks but have been left with a possible fracture that will not fully heal ( possible non union). I can’t make a fist, straighten my little finger or my ring & middle finger ( visible deformity )and can’t fully flex my wrist after and have been in a lot of pain and have had 4 1/2 months of Physio. I was unfit for work for nearly 5 months and had loss of earnings.I have been informed that I am not entitled to compensation due to non negligence and the fact that I was injured through no fault of my own is not enough!! Is this true considering I was at work, carrying out work duties when my accident occurred?

    • Who has told you that you are not entitled to claim compensation? Of course, we would need to find out a little more but on face value, we believe that you do have a claim to be made against your employer.

      If the security light was not working due to a fault with it or it had not been switched on that could be an area of negligence. Further, the snow shovel should not have been left outside where it was foreseeable that it could blow over and create a tripping hazard.

      We would be happy to pursue this further for you and bring your claim to the attention of our specialist Solicitors for further consideration.

  4. Hi I work for a lift company and sent to do a break down on a lift I’ve never had proper training on! I got my arm trapped in the moving lift I was doing repair as I been shown by another person not a trainer! I’ve just come out of hospital where do I stand with sick pay and compensation?,thanks

    • With regards to compensation, my initial view would be that you are probably in a strong position with regards to your employer being negligent and you have a valid claim for inadequate training compensation. As your employer has failed to provide you with adequate training, it is quite possible to be the case that they have to admit employer negligence and as such, you would have a strong claim for compensation.

      Your employer does not have to provide you with your usual salary whilst away from work – unless your contract stipulates that you are entitled to the same. If not, your employer will probably place you on statutory sick pay during your absence from work. Clearly, this would leave you out of pocket. The way to then recover your lost income is to make a claim for accident at work compensation against your employer. If you were to succeed, you would receive a value of compensation for the injury sustained and also be able to recover lost income and costs by way of the special damages element of your claim.

      We would be very happy to take this further for you.

  5. I have had an accident at work where I was firing a nail into some wood but the nail came out of the wood and went into the side of my thumb. I have had to have surgery to fix the problem. I have been left in pain and had to take 6 weeks off work, with only sick pay which has left me in financial difficulties and depression with worries, mostly about money. Is there anything I can claim for?

    • You may be able to make a claim against your employer for the injury and also to recover all lost income and costs incurred by your accident. However, you will only be able to succeed if it can be demonstrated that your employer failed in their duty of care to minimise the risk of injury – such as a lack of training or lack of personal protective equipment provision.

      We’d like to speak to you further as our staff would be able to help you identify whether or not we can attach any employer negligence here and if so, you would have a claim. If you would like to discuss this further, either call us on 01225430285 or if you’d prefer us to call you, use the ‘contact us‘ function to send us your contact details.

  6. Hi,

    My BF was polishing glass at a hotel and the washer was broken earlier in the day and then fixed, then someone added too much salt to the machine, due to the machine having too much salt in it the glasses were very cloudy and caused him to have to apply more pressure to polish. The glass broke and he sliced his fingers, had to go to A&E, XR showed glass left in wound, after digging in the wound they decided decided they couldn’t get it out so have left it in and glued it up.
    Does he have a claim?

    • Your partners should contact us so that we can pursue a claim against his employer for compensation. Whether or not the claim would succeed would not be known until further information was obtained as to succeed with a claim against an employer it is vital that employer negligence can be demonstrated. However, as we work on a fully No Win No Fee basis, your partner should pursue this matter.

  7. Hi, I was polishing wine glasses at work at the resturaunt. It then snapped in my hand and cut through my finger and damaging a tendon and nerve. I am in a cast for 3 months and have to have physio therapy. Can I claim from this? Thank you.

    • We have previously succeeded with a number of identical accident at work claims and would recommend that you provide us with your contact details. One of our team will then call you to take some further information and get your claim enquiry to the right specialist Solicitor.

  8. Hi my husband was working the back door for delivery at a supermarket store, he was informed at the beginning of he’s shift that the lift to put the cages on wasn’t working properly as the metal pole was broken. They told my husband either get a member of staff to hold the pole up as you put the cages on or use a step ladder to hold it up, so he used the step ladder an the pole still fell at fall speed an hit him on he’s head which resulted in him having to go a&e an having it glued.

    We was wondering how this would all work etc an of he should put a claim in?

    • The employer has been negligent here. From what you describe, they have placed your husband at risk of injury. On that basis, he ought to make a claim for compensation against the employer and seek compensation. We would gladly help him with this and discuss how the claims process works and confirm that it would have no implications upon his employment or affect any of his colleagues.

      Please ask your Husband to call us on 01225430285. We would happily have a no obligation conversation with him to explain his rights, offer advice and support regarding employer negligence and claiming compensation.

  9. Hi, i am an hgv driver, i recently slipped off a step getting out of a lorry in the correct manner lost my grip and fell backwards into the road injuring my head i was taken to hospital and found to have a small bleed and bruising to the brain i spent four days in hospital an am now at home recovering very slowly. I dont blame anyone for the accident but am only recieving ssp and dont know if i will ever be fit enough to return to work, any advice would be appreciated.

    • If you slipped off the step because of employer negligence you could seek to make a claim for accident at work compensation. Employer negligence and claiming compensation as a result of it in the situation you describe would be that you lost grip due to a fault with the vehicle step or handle that was known by the employer and had been ignored. This would be a worn step surface, a lack of non-slip surfacing or a failure of the employer to ensure that you were adequately trained and qualified to use the vehicle. To succeed with a claim for accident at work compensation you must be able to attribute the cause of your accident to negligence on the part of the employer.

      Your employer is not obliged to pay your salary whilst you are off and as you are only receiving SSP, the only way you can seek to recover your lost income would be by succeeding with a claim for accident at work compensation.

  10. I recently hit my finger at work against a stationery digger and have had to remove the tip of my index finger. I have been to the hospital etc I was working for the company for only 2 days as an induction when this happened. Will I be able to make a claim?.

    • We would like to speak with you to find out more about the accident and how you sustained such a nasty and permanent injury. We need to find out about what training you were being given, what induction you had received and what personal protective equipment you were provided with or required to wear.

      Your injury is clearly serious and you should therefore allow us to investigate the prospects any claim for compensation you were to bring would have. Please email your contact number to us at: and we’ll call you to take some basic information and help you find out more about your rights.

  11. Hello

    I recently cut my finger at work whilst polishing a wine glass which snapped in my hand. The glass city into a tendon on my finger and required an operation to fix and follow up physio therapy. Would I have grounds to make a claim?

    • We have a number of identical claims running at this time and have had success with a good number of them. I think it is worth putting the specifics of your claim to our specialist Solicitors so that they can advise you further.

      We would need a few minutes on the phone with you to take a little more information and could then get the right Solicitor to discuss this with you. Please call us on 01225430285 or email your contact number to us at

  12. Hello

    I recently had an accident at work where I got my finger trapped in a door and I required an operation due to my nail being badly damaged. The door had a fault where the slow closers were not working properly and my company has admitted this and now fixed the door. They have said however that as no one ever reported the door being broken they are not liable as it is my own responsibility to report hazards at work. Is this correct or can I make a claim?

    • Lisa

      Hi, thank you for visiting our website. Your employer has a responsibility to repair items that are reported as faulty and employers should always report faults if they notice them.

      In this case, if your employer was not made aware of the fault with the door, they may have a defence to the claim. However, much will rest on what training they have given you regarding making sure you know of your responsibilities to report faults and how to do so. Also, the employer cannot simply rely on employees to report faults and should carry out periodic inspections themselves.

      We would certainly be happy to investigate your prospects further and would be keen to pursue this claim for you. Please send me your contact details via email to: and I’ll call you to discuss things further and see what we can do for you.

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