Sustaining an injury at work can happen to anyone regardless of the type of industry you work in. In many cases the injury will be superficial and resolve itself within a day or so, however some injuries can be far more serious and prevent you from working either on a temporary or permanent basis.
If you or someone you know has been injured at work as a result of someone else’s negligence then it may be possible to make a work injury compensation claim against the person or persons you feel are responsible for your injuries.
If you feel you are entitled to make a claim please contact our solicitors at Injury Claims Assistance who specialise in personal injury claims. They will deal with every part of your claim from start to finish, and if your claim is successful will recover the maximum compensation for your injury.
There will be no cost to you as all personal injury claims we handle are on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.
Claiming for a Work Accident
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the number of people suffering from a work-related illness between 2014/15 in the UK was 1.2 million, with a staggering 27.3 million working days lost due to work related injury or sickness. Among those injured over 200,000 required more than three days off from work, and 142 injuries were fatal.
Work accidents are normally caused by one single reason, and that is negligence, and the presiding cause of negligence in the workplace is employers who cut costs.
Many firms are found guilty of cutting costs, which result in accidents taking place and injuries being sustained by their employees. Employers will often cut costs by deciding against:
- the renewal of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT), failing to provide new and adequate safety equipment when old equipment becomes worn-out or damaged,
- attempting to save time, and money by forgoing the training of staff, and sometimes doing away with risk assessments.
- conducting proper planning before executing a task.
Whatever the reason, your employer is committed by law to provide you ‘a duty of care’.
The term ‘Duty of Care’ is a legal expression used in law to signify the obligation and onus imposed upon an individual, group, or organisation, that requires them to ensure all reasonable care is taken when performing any act that could potentially cause harm to others.
If an employer fails to adhere to their obligation to provide a duty of care, and you become injured as a result then you have every right to claim compensation for an injury suffered following an accident at work.
I’m worried what my employer will think of me?
If you’re thinking about making a claim against your employer then there’s one thing that you need to be aware of, the compensation that you will receive does not come directly from your employer.
This means your ‘payout’ won’t come directly from your bosses pocket but instead from the firms insurance company. In our experience if your claim is real, then in most cases a decent employer will be right behind you and want to get the problem that caused your injury sorted.
In the UK it is a legal requirement of all businesses to have in place a public liability insurance policy. Therefore, it will be an insurance company that will be required to pay you your compensation should your case be won.
So if you are concerned about claiming against your employer then you shouldn’t be, as they have insurance to cover such eventualities.
‘Compensation Culture’ is a Myth
You will no doubt be aware of compensation claims hitting the news where an employee will receive tens, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation after suffering an injury at work.
- Evidence shows that more people are likely to claim compensation today than they were ten, or twenty years ago.
- This fact is not because there is now a perceived ‘compensation culture’.
- The real reason for this shift is that ‘access to justice’ is now more easily accessible than it has ever been, and people who have genuinely been injured can get the compensation they deserve.
We have all heard the expression ‘Health and safety gone mad’. People often offer it glibly at parties, however when you consider fatal accidents in the workplace have fallen from 651 in 1974 to just 113 in 2012, that’s five out of six lives saved thanks to ‘Health and Safety gone Mad’
Furthermore non fatal injuries have fallen from 336,701 down to 77,195. Suddenly the good old days before rigorous health and safety rules were introduced, do not appear that good after all.
Health and safety rules have without doubt proven to drastically reduce accidents in the workplace, so when an employer is in clear breach of their duty of care owed to their employees, the injured employee shouldn’t feel concerned about claiming.
With a significant increase in compensation claims employers are thankfully becoming more aware of the need to make sure their employees are safe.
Depending on the industry an employer will need to be familiar with a number of regulations. In the building industry an employer will need to be aware of:
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998:
To prevent and control the risks associated with equipment usage; equipment provision, training, and maintenance are all key to ensuring PUWER is adhered to, and employees are safe.
Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) 1992:
Employers in the UK are duty-bound to avoiding manual handling, as far as reasonably practicable, where there is a threat of injury occurring to employees.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 1992:
Where Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is deemed necessary an employer is obliged to provide it for free, and to make sure that it works effectively. It is a duty not a choice.
Work at Height Act 2005:
Regulating, and thereby ensuring, the safety of those working at height. It includes the use of safety equipment,risk assessments, personnel training, and requires all work above ground be properly planned and organised.
The above examples are only a few of many. The building industry is fiercely regulated due to the increased risks associated with the type of work involved.
Accidents in an Office
In a similar way, office working conditions are also regulated by the HSE and are required to adhere to the above regulations where relevant. With regard to electrical devices that could cause injury or fires such as computers and computer hardware, microwaves, kettles, telephones, and so on. An employer must comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and where applicable each electrical device must undergo a portable appliance test (PAT).
Prevent Accidents with Risk Assessments
This includes predicting the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSI), back and shoulder injury, as well as any other work related accidents.
Taking action to preventative measures to avoid them, i.e. in offices an employer should be providing ergonomic keyboards, adjustable chairs and computer screens.
The buck of course does not stop with the employers. Employees are responsible for their own safety, and the safety of others around them which is why it’s so important that any risks, or dangers that you come across at work are reported immediately.
If it is later discovered that you were aware of a danger that led to the injury of a colleague, then you may find yourself facing disciplinary action.
Typical Work Accidents
In case you are still unsure if you are entitled to claim for an accident at work, here are a few examples to help further illustrate what injuries in the workplace could potentially result in a successful claim:
- Tripping and falling on something left in a walkway, such as an exposed cable, a packing box, work equipment, someone’s bag, or as a result of raised carpet, or flooring.
- Asbestosis or mesothelioma caused by working with asbestos without adequate safety equipment.
- Injury caused by the collapse of scaffolding or other structural reinforcements.
- Bone fractures or lacerations caused by you getting a body part stuck in a machine or piece of equipment.
- Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) resulting from uncomfortable typing, working in confined spaces, repeating the same action without adequate breaks in between, etc.
- Slipping on spilled goods or floors that are wet in the absence of ‘Wet Floor’ signs.
- Being run over, knocked, or somehow injured by a forklift or other workplace vehicle.
- Suffering an electric shock, or burn injury from poorly maintained equipment.
- Developing conditions such as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, tinnitus, respiratory conditions, and any other ailments brought on by poor working conditions.
Though the list is not exhaustive, we hope the above provides enough examples for you to get a better understanding of what typically would be covered by the law.
Time Limits to Make a Claim
As mentioned before, accidents at work are a common occurrence. Many thousands of people in the UK will suffer an accident at work this week and every week thereafter.
But when the accident wasn’t your fault and someone else is to blame then you shouldn’t have to shoulder the costs of time off work, hospital visits, rehabilitation, and so forth.
If you feel that you have a legitimate claim for compensation as a result of an accident you suffered at work you must bear in mind there are time limits in law to bring a claim against someone. There are certain exceptions, but generally you have 3 years from the date of the accident to pursue a claim against the negligent party.
How to make a work injury compensation claim
Following an injury there will be many questions you will be asking about how to make a claim:
- How to make a claim and where to begin?
- Will you need to inform your employer that you’re making a claim against them?
- Will they be likely to terminate your contract? Will you need insurance to cover any costs incurred during the litigation process?
- And what type of solicitor?
All the above are important questions. Accidents at work are a daily occurrence yet with something so common the process of claiming damages is still complicated, confusing, stressful, not to mention time consuming. That’s why we suggest leaving your compensation claim to the professionals.
Getting advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor is essential as they will be able to guide you through the entire process, and answer any questions you have.