‘Will my employer change their behaviour towards me as a result of my claim?’’ I was recently asked this question by a client who was at the start of their claim for personal injury against their employer following an accident at work.
Duty of Care owed by an Employer
An employer is under a duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of its employees and this duty of care extends to their employee’s physical and mental health.
If your employer fails to carry out their duty of care and you suffer injury or illness during the course of your work as a result of that failure, you are within your employment rights to make a claim against your employer for personal injury compensation.
Employment Rights to make a claim
Your employer however cannot dismiss you from work for making a claim for personal injury following an accident at work. If your employer takes steps to dismiss you from work, then you should seek legal advice from an Employment Solicitor as you may be able to make a claim for Unfair Dismissal.
To answer my client’s question, the Employer should not change their behaviour or attitude following an accident and/or as a result of making a claim but unfortunately there is no guarantee that this will not happen. If the working relationship breaks down as a result of making a claim for personal injury and this causes you to leave your job, then again you should seek advice from an Employment Solicitor in relation to making a clam for Constructive Dismissal.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been involved in an accident at work and suffered injuries it is understandable that you may be worried about making a claim against your employer due to the possibility of losing your job or the claim causing tension in your relationship with your employer.
I have addressed below the reasons why you might be worried about bringing a claim against your insurer:
- Will I lose my job? You cannot be sacked from your job as a result of making a claim for Personal injury following an accident at work. If your employer takes steps to dismiss you from work as a result of the claim, then you should seek advice from an Employment Solicitor.
- Will the claim affect my pay? Your salary should not be affected simply as a result of making a claim. If you are unable to work as a result of your injury, this may affect your pay as you may only be eligible for sick pay. You should check your employment contract to check your entitlement to pay whilst off work. As part of your claim for personal injury, you will be able to make a claim for any financial losses i.e. loss of earnings, treatment cost and travel costs which you may have suffered.
- Will the claim affect my relationship with my employer? The Employer should not change their behaviour towards you as a result of receiving a personal injury claim from you. If they do and this causes the working relationship to break own and you decide to resign, then you should seek legal advice from an Employment Solicitor.
- Will my colleagues be supportive if I make a claim? Colleagues may come forward and agree to be witnesses to your accident. If they do not, you should still provide details of your colleagues to your Solicitor who may decide to write to your colleagues for witness statements.
- What if I can’t return to work soon or at all? You should keep your employer updated as to your progress following an accident at work and inform them when you are likely to return to work. The employer may be able to offer reduced or alternative duties if this is available. In the event you are not able to perform your normal work duties and you suffer loss of earnings, then you may be able to make a claim for any loss of income as a result of the accident. In the event you are unable to return to work at all due to the nature of your injury, and you may not know this until sometime after the accident, you should keep your employer informed and you may be able to make a claim for future loss of earnings if you can show that the accident and injury has prevented you from returning to your job.
- Will my employer be able to pay for my injury? Your employer will usually have an insurer who will step in and deal with the claim and pay out damages. The employer may be required to pay an excess fee similar to when we have to pay an excess for taking out motor insurance but this is usually a minimal amount and therefore it is unlikely the employer will suffer a financial burden.
- Can I delay bringing a claim? The time limit for making a personal injury claim is 3 years from the date of the accident. You may decide that you wish to delay making a claim as you are still working for the employer. You should still take the important step of reporting the accident as soon as possible to ensure the correct facts are recorded and an investigation is promptly commenced by your employer. Read below to check what further steps should be taken following an accident at work.
Steps to take following an accident at work
In order to make the claim process as smooth as possible, I would suggest the following steps are followed so that when you do instruct a Personal Injury Solicitor, a claim is submitted to your employer and/or their Insurance Company as soon as possible:
- Report the accident as soon as possible. Complete the accident report book or send an email to your supervisor providing details of the accident as soon as possible after the accident.
- Take photographs of the accident location, the cause of the injury and your injuries if they are visible such as bruising or lacerations.
- Make a note of the names of any colleagues who may have witnessed the accident.
- If you attend A&E or your GP to seek medical attention as a result of your injuries, ensure the circumstances of the incident is correctly recorded.
What happens once I instruct a solicitor for my personal injury claim
Once you instruct a Solicitor they will either summit a Claim Notification Form to the defendant or a Letter of Claim depending on the nature of your injuries. When making a claim for personal injury against an employer, I always give my clients the opportunity to consider and approve the draft Claim Notification Form or the Letter of Claim before it is sent to the employer, should they wish to do so. This will ensure you have checked the facts are correct and happy with the documents being sent to your employer about your claim. Upon receipt of the claim the Employer and/or their insurance company will start their investigation into the accident and are required to confirm their position on the issue of liability within 3 months from the date they acknowledge the Letter of Claim or 30 working days from receipt of the Claim Notification Form.
If you have suffered an injury at work due to your employer’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation with our specialist accident at work solicitors please call us today 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.