Accident at work? Here’s what to do
Posted on 17th February 2017
If you have been injured in an accident at work, and can show that it was not your fault, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. To make sure you have the best chance to claim the compensation you deserve just follow the procedure below. For examples of how much a typical accident at work claim is worth, see our case studies at the end.
Reporting accidents at work
It is important to report the accident at work as soon after the accident as possible. This should be fairly easy to do as your employer is required to keep an accident book at work. If your employer does not have one, make sure you report the accident to your line manager, preferably in writing.
If you are not able to complete the accident book straight away, as you may be in too much pain or be on your way to hospital, make sure you remember which co-workers saw the accident and who came to help you with your injuries. Make notes as soon as you can, and formally report it in the accident at work book as soon as possible afterwards.
If it is not you who completes the accident report book at work make sure that you check that the person who did complete it has recorded how the accident happened correctly before you sign it.
What to do at the hospital or your GP’s surgery
If you are taken to A&E after the accident or need to attend later, the hospital staff will record details of your injury in your medical records. Make sure that they accurately record how the accident happened.
If you need to attend your GP for advice or for a sick note, again make sure that the GP records how the accident happened correctly.
Unreported accidents at work
If you have not reported your accident in the accident book at work you can still make a claim. It is helpful if colleagues can verify that the accident took place, or if you told your GP about the accident. Remember, it is better if your accident is recorded and reported to your employers as soon as possible, though. This will help strengthen your accident at work claim.
Accident at work law
If you feel the accident was not your fault, you should speak to a specialist accident at work personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity. Your solicitor will assist you in getting together all the information you need to make a claim against the responsible party, in this case your employers.
Accident at work law has changed recently but if you can establish that your employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent you from harm then you should be able to make a claim.
The personal injury claim
The amount you can claim for your injuries depends on the type of injury and how long it takes to recover from it. You can use an accident at work compensation calculator to estimate how much you are entitled to.
Your specialist personal injury (PI) solicitor will arrange for you to be examined by an independent medical expert who will prepare a report on your injuries. You may need more than one report depending on the nature of your injury.
Potential Changes in Availability of Compensation
The Government is currently proposing to make changes to the law which may affect an individual’s right to claim compensation for soft tissue injuries .These changes may also affect the amount that can be recovered for such injuries. This is regardless of how the injury was caused; so an accident at work or a road accident.
In addition the Government may force those injured by the fault of their employers to use the Small Claims Court if the case is worth up to £5000. This means that an injured person will no longer be able to have the benefit of a solicitor to represent them at court and will have to prepare their case themselves against their employer’s insurance company.
It is not clear if the Government will go ahead with these changes the earliest they may be implemented would be by April 2017 or October 2017.
Claiming for financial losses
In addition to the compensation for the injury you can also claim for things like sick pay, travel expenses, prescription costs, and compensation for the time family members or friends spend helping you. These are just a few examples of what you can claim. It is very important to keep a record of all expenditure and to keep receipts.
Each case is different so the type of things you can claim do vary. Your specialist personal injury solicitor will be able to advise you on what can be claimed so you don’t miss out on any compensation you deserve.
Accident at work sick pay
If you are off work after your accident you may be entitled to sick pay, but if not then any loss of earnings can be included within the claim. Your solicitor would need to see pay slips from 13 weeks before the accident and pay slips for your absence and for about 13 weeks after your return. You may also be able to claim for lost commission and overtime payments.
Accidents at work when self-employed
If you have an accident at work and are self-employed, and the accident happens while working on a site managed by someone else, then it may be possible to make a claim for your accident at work for injury and any loss of earnings. Your specialist personal injury solicitor would need to see your accounts for the 3 years before the accident and for a number of years afterwards.
If you are injured at work and make a compensation claim to your employer this does not affect your employment rights. If you do lose your job and you think it is because you made a compensation claim, you should speak to an employment lawyer as soon as possible, because the time limits to bring such an employment law claim are very short.
Accident at work claim time limit
The time limit for making a claim following an accident at work is three years from the date of the injury. It is possible to delay making a claim for an accident at work until after you have left your employer. However, if you do this, it is very important that the accident was reported as soon as possible after it happened and that the accident book was completed. Though due to the potential changes mentioned above about the availability of compensation for soft tissue injuries it is recommended that any claim is submitted as soon as possible.
Going to court
Your employer’s insurers will deal with their side of your compensation claim. If they decide to argue that they are not responsible, or they do not agree the amount of your accident at work claim, you may need to go to court to prove your case.
Your specialist solicitor will support you and guide you on the court process. The majority of cases settle without ever seeing the inside of a court room but your accident at work solicitor will always prepare your case as if it is going to court, and thereby show your opponent that they mean business and are prepared to take your case all the way.
Your ability to be represented will be diminished if the Government brings in the changes outlined above and your case is worth up to £5000. A solicitor will not be able to prepare and submit your case and you will have to represent yourself in the Small Claims Court against your employer’s insurance company.
Accident at work case studies
Head injury: £2500
In this case our client was employed as a cleaner. As she placed rubbish into a wheelie bin, she struck her head on a cupboard which was mounted on the wall. Liability was admitted by her employers, as the wheelie bins had been placed in an area which was unsafe. We were able to argue that it should have been obvious that someone placing rubbish into the wheelie bin would be likely to hit their head in this way and suffer an injury.
The Client suffered a minor concussive head injury and was examined by a neurologist. She had headaches which went away after 8 weeks. The cleaner was paid £2500 in compensation.
Ice slip in staff car park: £3000
Our client was walking through her staff car park when she slipped on ice, injuring her right hip and elbow. We found her employers had made no attempt to grit the ice. The employers accepted that they should have taken steps to clear the ice and to grit the staff car park.
The Client suffered an injury to her elbow which took over a year to heal and an injury to her hip which lasted a few months. She received £3000 in compensation.