Employer negligence and claiming compensation

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

Accidents in the workplace can happen to anyone and often occur as a result of negligence on the part of the employer. Employers in the UK have a legal obligation to protect their workers whilst they are on site. Whatever type of job you do, you should be safe and working in an environment that is free from any dangers or hazards.

Health and safety regulations

Employers are responsible for the implementation and adherence to heath and safety laws and guidelines. If these guidelines are not followed through negligence, serious accidents can occur. On occasions, employers fail to implement health and safety regulations correctly, if at all. In such instances, the chance of an accident occurring in the workplace increases significantly.

Such accidents could be the result of employers not providing their employees with the right amount of training, the right guidance when it comes to using equipment or the right tools and clothing to wear whilst they are in the workplace.

If you have had an accident at work because your employer has not taken the necessary steps to protect you whilst you are working and has failed to follow health and safety rules and regulations, then you may be entitled to compensation. If health and safety hasn’t been followed then your employer will be found negligent and liable to pay compensation.

Get legal advice

If you think that your injuries are the result of negligence of your employer, then you should seek legal advice. Hiring a personal injury solicitor who specialises in work accidents would put you at an advantage. They will be able to advise and guide you through the processes involved in claiming for compensation and be able to tell you whether or not you have a strong case for compensation against your employers.

You will have to prove that your injuries are the result of health and safety laws not being properly enforced in the workplace and you will need to have medical records showing the details and extent of your injuries. Your solicitor will be able to tell you more about this and how you will go about claiming for compensation. It may seem daunting but with a good solicitor on hand you will feel very reassured.

Your compensation will cover any medical expenses, loss of earnings and even the impact that the accident might have had on your life. Each case is considered on an individual basis, so compensation may vary from case to case.

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

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Questions & Answers


  1. Colleen

    I work in a funeral home, I have been given sub standard training and my first eight weeks I was just left in the care centre to answer the phones. A year down the line I have had to deal with numerous funerals on the go at one time up to 16 at once alone when my colleague was ill – I flagged this up with my management vocally on numerous occasions and still ended up with no help. Now I had a family walk in yesterday swear at me and belittle me in my job so much so another colleague had to take them and do the funeral arrangement. I was then just left to get on with my current arrangements not once was I offered a break or any support after this incident at all. I did tell my manager I am not taking on that funeral as a result I have been up all night with a headache unable to sleep. I said to my manager I’m not here to be abused this morning she answered me back with they are grieving and what kind of support was I expecting? I’m at the end of my tether with them I cannot believe I supposed to put up with this. Any advice on this would be gratefully received. This company staff turn over is ridiculous all employees have the same problem undervalued overworked an not listened too.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      In a situation where you feel or believe that an employer is not providing adequate support, training or assistance it is vital that you put them on record of your concerns – in writing – so that they have an opportunity to address the issue and respond accordingly.

      If you have done this and nothing has been done in terms of a response or action, you could then seek to make a claim against them for work related stress/anxiety compensation.

      It is not a good idea to simply raise issues verbally with an employer as this gives the employer the opportunity to simply deny that you had ever told them of your worries or informed them that you were struggling.

      Reply
  2. Anna

    My daughter is in her first job from college. We have had our concerns from day one – lack of contract, lack of payslip, etc but she enjoys the job and doesn’t want to cause trouble so accepts the excuses they ply her with. Then last week she had an accident at work which resulted in both a hot water and chemical burn to her leg. At 18 and with two months experience she was the most senior person there (the other being a 16 year old pot wash boy). There were customers also and she had no keys to lock up with to seek assistance resulting in further damage to her leg. She has been off work, unpaid, for a week but has gone back on light duties. Her employer has magically on her return produced a contract which she has signed but has no copy of. He has also filled in an ‘accident’ report despite him not having been present and my daughter has neither read that or signed it. Very concerned for her working there and I feel they should be taken to task over this, does she have a case?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      There is certainly a valid claim to investigate and look further in to here. Whether or not the claim will succeed will depend on the way in which the burns were caused, but given the apparently disorganised nature of the workplace, one can imagine that there is not much training going on and given that a chemical burn has been sustained there are questions to ask about the employers policy on COSHH and health and safety in general.

      As your Daughter is 18 years of age, she can make a claim without needing formal parental support. We would be happy to help her with your support by way of a claim for compensation and would like to discuss with her as to how we can assist. Should your daughter wish to take this further, she can call us on 01225430285 or we can call her at a time that suits her.

      Whilst it is always wise to take action at the earliest opportunity, your Daughter doesn’t have to rush in to a claim if she doesn’t want to. The law will afford her 3 years from the date of the accident to make a claim.

      Reply
  3. Peter

    I have suffered from depression since 2003 and have been signed off a few times .
    On the last occasion I was given a final written warning,
    I told them it was underlying health and they saw my medical notes but refused to accept this,the manager
    Who gave me the warning did not know the policy of “time to change”.
    After an appeal i waited 3.5 weeks for an outcome, which was meant to take 14 days.
    They then sent me to a o.h.a Dr and he agreed with me so they dropped the f.w.w.
    They also tried to stop my wages which worsened my condition.
    Now after posting about this on their Facebook page while in a dark place I’m facing another disciplinary for misconduct.
    Since I was off the last time I have never had any follow up on my condition or asked how I was coping, in fact when I told a coordinated I was struggling with my mental health she just said” oh well just put that box of crisps out” I felt like no one cared.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      The best course of action here will be to complete and return one of our initial work related stress questionnaire’s. We can then hand the information you provide to the specialist with whom we work on such matters. The specialist will then review your situation and contact you to advise you regarding your claim.

      Reply
  4. Damaris

    Can an employee institute a civil claim against the employer if the incident was caused by negligence of the employer?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Under UK law, if there was an incident at work that was caused by employer negligence the employee would have every right to start legal proceedings against the employer – either via a personal injury claim or employment law.

      Reply
  5. John

    My case is Asbestos in the work place. i know u can’t claim for something you you haven’t got but might get. But myself and some work colleagues were sent into a area that we were told was clear of Asbestos by our employer, H.S.E, who themselves were working of a report from OHSS who is one of the biggest Asbestos experts in Ireland, and we then found out that this report was wrong and the area we were in is full of Asbestos. We now know that our employer is seeking legal advice on what to do with OHSS, so we were wondering were we stand?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      You mention Ireland? Were you working in Ireland at the time? If so, you’ll need to consult someone qualified to advise legally under Irish Law.

      Reply
  6. Julie

    Can I seek compensation from my employer for their failings which led to my psychiatric trauma and ultimately quitting my job?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      You do have a right to make such a claim. You will need to be able to draw on documented evidence to support any such claim.

      Reply
  7. Ana

    Can I claim compensation for personal injury by a colleague for sexual harassment?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      If it can be demonstrated that your employer failed to protect your safety at work, you may have a right to make a claim. In this case, your employer will need to have been informed of the harassment that you suffered from in writing and then failed to act on these reports.

      Reply
  8. Jack

    I had an accident at work, my foot was trapped on a lorry and as I fell my foot came loose propelling me out of the lorry. I landed on my arms and broke both my arms. I was employed through an agency where I had no health and safety training on the job, I was just sent out with a colleague to assist them. Where do I stand am I eligible to make a claim?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      As an agency worker, you are afforded the same rights under the Health and Safety at Work Act and safe working regulations as any full time employee. We would be happy to assist you make your claim for accident at work compensation and can advise you as to what you need to do and how to go about ensuring that your claim has the very best possible prospects of succeeding.

      Reply
  9. Craig

    Hello,

    I slipped 2 disks in my lower spine whilst at work early December, although was not aware of this until a recent X-rayearly January at a chiropractor.
    I was the department manager and responsible for ensuring the teams compliance to manual handling etc, although never recieved any manual handling training myself.

    After my injury, despite multiple strong painkillers I was unable to sleep for almost a month, affecting everything in my daily life.
    Due to the busy Xmas season, I (whilst high on Diazepam) convinced my manager I could still work on light duties to help the team.

    Upon returning to work after New Years, (sleep improving although still only managing a few hours each night, prescribed co-codomol to help sleep) I made some poor decisions and had my contract terminated because of them. I was only there for 10 months.

    Is there anything I can do?

    Regards,

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      UK employment law will not help you in this situation as you were with the employer for less than 2 years. Therefore, your only options legally would be to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation due to the slipped disc injury. Given the employers failure to provide you with manual handling training, you may well have a valid claim for compensation.

      Reply
  10. Summer

    As an employer what are my legal obligations following a work place accident that resulted in a death and also what are the duties on the individuals involved and the managers?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      In a serious incident at work resulting in serious injuries or a fatality, the relevant authorities will investigate the matter (Police, HSE and RIDDOR). Your obligations as an employer is to fully cooperate with any such investigation and provide all relevant documentation requested (such as training records, maintenance records, insurance details etc).

      The individual Managers and business owner/Directors can face prosecution if it is shown that they failed in their duties to minimise the risk of such a serious incident.

      Reply
  11. James

    I have been on long term sick for over 10 years, yes that correct, 10 years, I was not called to any absence review meetings until late 2016, that was 8 years after my accident. I did receive a compensation claim against them. Between 2016 and up to date I have only been to 3 absence review meetings. I have raised a grievance with them on their policy for long term sick leave and they did not have one up until a few weeks ago, at the meeting I had with them they said they did, which now has been proven that they lied. I lost my grievance as they upheld it but admitted that they could have had more communication with me. This has caused me severe stress and I am attending my doctor for it. I think the term is hyperarousal. Can I make a claim against them as they should have a care of duty?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      The query you cite is an employment law matter and as such, we are not able to offer qualified advice to you. We would recommend that you approach an employment law specialist at the earliest opportunity.

      Reply
  12. Kevin

    Hi Ian,

    I am contacting you on behalf of a colleague who sustained an electric shock at work in May 2016, which knocked him over; he was medically checked and then sent home. The details are taken from the 8 page company Health and Safety report where they identify the catalogue of errors and root causes.
    I will try and keep the details to bullet points as this enquiry is more regarding employer negligence than the injury sustained by the colleague.
    1. The incident involved my colleague sustaining an electric shock from a water heater.
    2. The water heater was checked in 2013 by an independent electrical service company who identified an action coded as C2 ‘potentially dangerous, urgent remedial action required’. There is no clear record of this action being completed; further to this the fixed instillation inspection also indicated that the water heater did not have a Residual Current Device (RCD).
    3. On 28th April 2016 a staff member identified a water leak emanating from under the kitchen sink, through the water heater which had the cover tilting back with exposed wires. The staff member informed her line manager and together with the Front of House Manager checked the water heater and decided to switch off the power supply. This was also recorded electronically.
    4. On 29th April 2016 recorded data indicates that this work order was acted upon but sent to the wrong contractor email address due to a recent change of name by the contractor. However the (SLA) code was set at one day and it would have shown on the system the next day as a job not resolved and colour coded as red.
    5. Records indicate that once the time scale for the (SLA) has exceeded it highlights as red on the maintenance department system and this is reviewed on a weekly basis at the maintenance team meeting. A review took place on 3rd May 2016, but this was not highlighted as a priority.
    6. Company Health and Safety report identifies that the classification of the (SLA) code for the work order should have been assessed as urgent. The water heater should have been securely isolated, once a problem had been identified and a caution notice should be attached at the point of isolation.
    7. On 5th May 2016 the water heater had still not had any work carried out and the work order was outstanding. The monthly water heater check was due and engineer was tasked with the job. He started to test the water temperature and noticed that it was not heating, checked the water heater only to find it had been turned off from the switch inside the cupboard. He checked the heater visually did not notice anything out of place so he turned the switch back on and left intending to return an hour later after the water had heated up. He did not return due to other work priorities and the water heater was now live again. The incident occurred later that evening.

    There are other Health and Safety concerns but I appreciate this is already a lengthy email. The colleague only had one day off as he felt pressured by his line manager to return to work. He was offered £750.00 compensation, is this acceptable given the circumstances?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Kevin

      Thank you for telling us about your colleagues accident at work.

      There are two things I can say at this stage – i’m sure you can appreciate that I don’t know the full facts of the injury sustained and how that has affected your colleague.

      Firstly, I would say that he does have a very strong claim for compensation – this is further backed up by the fact that an offer of compensation has been made.

      Secondly, the offer – £750. Without knowing the full facts of the injury – how it has affected your colleague, whether there are ongoing problems such as pain, loss of movement or even psychological trauma etc, I can’t say if the offer is fair or not. If he has not been using the services of a specialist accident at work compensation solicitor, I would argue that he may well receive a higher/fairer offer if he were.

      Using a specialist solicitor ensures that the claimant receives the maximum value of settlement to which they are entitled and protects the claimant from dealing directly with an insurer who will be looking to settle the claim at the lowest possible tariff. Therefore, I would suggest that your colleague make an enquiry to us so that we can discuss this in detail and offer advice on the basis of knowing the full facts of the matter.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian

      Reply
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