Accidents at work naturally cause a lot of stress and anxiety, and understandably, compensation claims against an employer present a difficult situation for both parties. However, with the right management of your claim, you can maintain a good relationship and get things resolved in everyone’s interest.
Do not feel that reporting the accident would tarnish the reputation of your company. All employers must have insurance to protect both you and them should you have an accident at work. Therefore, any compensation for a work related injury will be paid by the insurance company, not your employer, and you can make a claim in the knowledge that you are not jeopardising any colleagues’ employment.
Just having an accident at work is not enough to guarantee compensation. 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. In this article we look at how to go about making a successful claim.
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- Why claim compensation?
- Employer responsibilities
- Making a successful claim
- How much compensation will I receive?
- Work claims FAQ
Why claim compensation?
Claiming personal injury compensation will help ease some of the personal and practical problems you’ll face following your accident. As well as a financial compensation settlement, claiming can also help you in other ways:
- Making a claim is your legal right, and fairly compensates you for injuries that were not your fault.
- It can pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery.
- It can make up for lost income now and in the future if you are prevented from working again.
For anyone suffering as a result of an accident at work, there are a whole host of issues to deal with. Apart from suffering from the effects of the injury, pain, discomfort and emotional distress, a real problem for many claimants is how to manage financially if their injuries are serious enough to prevent them from working and getting paid the salary they are used to.
The driving factor for a claim is usually the sudden loss of income, not the pain or discomfort of injuries. Most employers only pay the standard salary for a short period, then many people find themselves living off nothing more than basic sick pay.
As all claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed. A successful claim will lead to a compensation settlement being made to you, with the value of the claim including any lost income and incurred costs as well as a settlement value for the injuries you have suffered and medical treatment that you have required. If you are likely to be off work for a considerable period of time, there is a possibility that your solicitor will be able to obtain an interim payment from the liable 3rd party insurers that could help in the short term.
We normally find you have two immediate concerns:
- When will I be able to get back to work?
- How will I pay my bills in the meantime?
Once your claim is active, we can request a payment for any treatment required to return you to work as soon as possible. We can also obtain a payment on account of your compensation from your employer’s insurance company to cover the period you are unable to work.
Employers have responsibilities after an accident at work and employees have the right to pursue a claim for compensation.
It is the employer’s responsibility to understand an accident, take the right measures, and provide the employee with appropriate compensation whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary agency staff.
Every company that employs staff is responsible for their health and safety whilst they are working. If an employer does not have proper procedures in place, they are breaching their responsibilities and they can be prosecuted. Your employer is legally responsible for your safety.
It is up to the employer to carry out risk assessments and ensure the workplace is safe and free from hazardous objects. This includes allocating first aiders and providing training on lifting and handling office equipment. The employer should also ensure that staff are provided with the necessary equipment to protect them while undertaking any strenuous activities.
Your employer has a legal obligation to report any accidents that might occur in the workplace to the Incident Contact Centre of the Health and Safety Executive. Any accident regardless of how minor will need to be reported.
One requirement is to ensure that details of any incident, no matter how minor, are recorded within an accident book or accident recording system. These details can prove to be extremely important when it comes to a solicitor winning a claim for injury compensation. If an employer has refused you the right to record the details of your accident within their accident book, or you just haven’t done so, it doesn’t mean you can’t claim. A strong record in an accident book is just one of the many key bits of evidence that can help any personal injury compensation claim reach a successful outcome, and you can often find other means of proving what happened.
Making a successful claim
Just having an accident at work is not enough to guarantee compensation. To make a valid claim, 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. No two accidents are the same and with this in mind, it is vital that you seek proper advice so that you know whether or not you have a viable claim for accident at work compensation. However, there are some basic pointers that can help you identify where you stand regarding the strength of a claim or otherwise.
- Did your employer ever give you any training? (this could relate to manual handling training, specific training to use certain machinery or other job relevant training). If the answer is no, your employer has breached health and safety guidance already.
- Were you given an induction to the workplace? This would include guidance on accident management protocols, safety exits, hazard avoidance etc.
- Were you provided with, or advised what personal safety and protective equipment you should have to complete your job safely? If the answer is no, your employer could be liable for your injury.
- Did your employer adequately maintain equipment and service machines? Did they ensure that safety guards and mechanisms worked?
- Were you advised how to report accidents and how to access the accident book?
- Did the employer ensure correct staffing levels and an adequate amount of first aid trained staff?
- Did your employer act upon reports of potential risks of danger to employees?
The above is just a guide and there could be many more ways in which an employer would be liable. In most cases, it is relatively easy for us to evaluate the likely outcome of a claim for workplace accident compensation, so we advise you to contact us to discuss the details of your accident and injury.
The injured party wishing to claim must also ensure that the details of their accident and injuries have been correctly reported and recorded. To give yourself the best chance of winning your compensation claim for injuries sustained in an accident at work, the following things should be done:
- The matter must be recorded in the employers accident book. The injured party should contribute to what is written and only sign it when they are happy with the way the accident circumstances have been recorded. If relevant, previous complaints or comments about potential hazards that relate to the accident in question should be noted. The injuries should be described and their cause listed. The injured party should ask for a copy of the accident book entry. In circumstances where there is no accident book entry, there are still things you can do.
- The injured party must receive medical treatment – either by attending their GP, or by attending Accident and Emergency under their own method of transport or via an ambulance.
- If possible, obtain the names and addresses of supporting witnesses. Whilst the accident book entry is the main evidence for an accident at work claim, having supporting statements from colleagues can provide a stronger prospect of success in certain cases.
- Once medical treatment has been received, liaise with the employer as to the situation and the likelihood of any return to work.
If you have had an accident at work and have not already done so, you should explain to the employer the exact series of events that caused it. Immediately reporting it to your employer will help them curtail such accidents in future by adopting proper safety precautions.
If the employer is not convinced with your explanation, it would make sense to bring in witness testimonies in order to verify your story with your employer. The witnesses in this case would most probably be your fellow employees and colleagues.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to do any of this yet, get in touch and we’ll be able to guide you and help you get your claim off to a good start.
How much personal injury compensation will I receive?
Every claim is different. However, there are guidelines issued by the courts for solicitors. All our solicitors are experts in handling work accident compensation claims and know how to use these guidelines to ensure you receive the right amount of compensation. You will be advised, once initial evidence has been collected, as to the likely level of compensation for your injuries.
In addition to the award for your injuries, you will also receive compensation for all other losses and expenses reasonably incurred as a result of the work accident. Your expert solicitor will advise you what expenses you can claim but these are likely to include some or all of the following:
- Lost earnings if you have been away from work as a result of the accident
- Treatment for your injuries
- Miscellaneous expenses (bus fares, painkillers etc)
One of the other major benefits of making a claim for compensation is the possibility of accessing excellent rehab therapies. Our specialist solicitors will look to obtain such treatments for claimants, including physiotherapy, massage therapy, osteopathy and many other kinds of intervention. Such treatments and rehab therapies have been proven to help people recover more quickly and therefore be in a position to return to work and get back to normality with life.
Work Claims FAQ
Can agency or temporary workers make a claim?
Regardless of whether an employee is a contracted full-time or part-time staff member, or if they are on a short-term contract, or even working via a 3rd party agency on temporary terms, all employees are governed by the same health and safety at work regulations. Employers must ensure that all staff members are adequately trained to work safely and provided with the relevant equipment to work safely. They should also have knowledge of company procedures, how to access support and how to report any incidents and where to seek first aid assistance. With this in mind, any employee injured in an accident within the workplace will have the same right to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation, even if they are there temporarily.
Will claiming compensation cost me my job?
The answer to this is straightforward – no, it’s just another one of those personal injury compensation myths that is designed to put you off from claiming compensation for your injuries.
Will claiming compensation after an accident at work damage my employer?
Again, this is a myth. Whilst it’s never good for any employer to be subjected to a claim against their insurance cover if they’re liable for your injuries, it will not damage the business in the long run. If your employer has breached safety guidelines and is liable it is only fair that you should receive compensation. The worst that will happen to the employer from the perspective of your successful claim against them is that they will be likely to see a rise in their insurance premium and have to pay an excess towards your claim. One positive of such an outcome is that it’s likely to get the employer to make changes to the way that they work, so that future employees can enjoy a safer workplace.
Can I prove that my employer is responsible?
This isn’t something you should worry about, as making a decision on this is best left to a specialist personal injury compensation solicitor who knows the law and how to hold someone to account.
Will my colleagues find out about my claim?
Another no. The details of your claim will be kept in a confidential manner. Your employer must tell no persons other than their insurers, and your solicitor will adhere to data protection guidelines. It’s up to you who you tell or don’t tell about your claim.
Will me making a claim help protect colleagues?
It’s always important to report any workplace accident and if you do so and then make a successful claim, your employer is likely to sit up and take notice of their work practices in order that they can amend them and reduce the risk of the same kind of accident happening again. Firms can be fined if they are in breach of health and safety regulations, and people reporting what has happened to them could save colleagues from suffering the same fate.
How long do I have to claim?
Normally you have three years from the date of the accident to make your claim for compensation. However, in some circumstances this can be extended for an even longer period, for instance if you were not 18 years old at the time.
It is always worthwhile seeking guidance from fully qualified personal injury solicitors who specialise in accidents at work. We are experts in ensuring that your relationship with your employer is maintained to its best level. We have an expert understanding of the process that a claimant will face and can process your no win no fee claim efficiently and in a hassle-free manner. Contact Direct 2 Compensation for confidential, friendly advice and we can start looking after you and your work accident compensation claim.