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 an example of how much a typical accident at work claim is worth, see our case study at the end.
Reporting accidents at work: As soon as possible
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 Medical Statement or Doctor’s 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.
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.
Accident at work case: Rehabilitation
It is important that you speak to your specialise personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. As well as lodging the claim with your employer’s insurers she will also look to discuss rehabilitation to help you get better quicker (physiotherapy for example or even carers if your injury warrants it) and therefore back to work as quickly as possible. Always make sure you discuss your rehabilitation needs with your specialist solicitor.
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.
Industrial and Occupational Disease Claims
The time limit is slightly different in that the time limit to bring a claim is three years from the “Date of Knowledge”. This is generally the date you first realised or suspected that your illness was related to your work. Or three years from the onset of symptoms. It is best to talk to your specialist personal injury solicitor who can give expert advice as to whether your claim is in time or not.
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 personal injury 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.
Example Case Study
Accident while employed as a part time shop worker: Our client was walking through the store when she slipped on packaging that had been left out by a colleague. She landed on and fractured her knee and she also shattered her other ankle. This has made recovery very difficult.
The client worked part time and has not returned to work since this accident, approx. 2 years ago.
Liability was admitted and the insurers have assisted with rehabilitation in the form of private physiotherapy, carers to visit the house and help with bathing and washing and a psychological to provide treatment to help with isolation the client has felt while housebound. They have provided interim payments as well.
The claim is likely to attract an award of £30,000 for her injuries plus her losses (earnings, care and support, treatment, travel expenses, loss of pension, and any future loss of earnings, care and operations)