Accidents at Work and Compensation – What You Need To Know
Posted Jan 30, 2020.
With big advances in health and safety training, processes and equipment over the past 30 years, whether you work in a factory, warehouse, construction site or office, the modern workplace is much safer than it used to be. However, even with these welcome advances in safety, accidents at work still happen. So if you have been injured at work in an accident that wasn’t your fault, how do you make a claim for compensation?
Most Common Workplace Injuries
Based on Health & Safety Executive (‘HSE’) data and our own extensive experience with workplace injuries, the most common causes are:
· Lifting / Manual Handling – this includes any activity in the workplace that involve carrying or moving, lifting, lowering, pushing or pulling. Common injuries affect the back, arms, hands, feet and tendons. Whilst regulations state that any carrying and lifting of objects should not involve strenuous activity, should involve predictable movements and be over reasonable distances using proper equipment, you can suffer an injury from a weight as low as 5kg. Your employers must provide their employees with proper training on lifting and handling, especially as compensation for lifting accidents can reach six figures as back and neck injuries can persist over an employee’s lifetime.
· Falls, Slips and Trips – HSE data indicates that with over 7,000 reported injuries every year, these are the most common workplace injuries. Fall, slips and trips are often caused by unreported fluid spills; cables not properly routed and cluttered walkways in communal areas. As well as making sure that the workplace is constantly monitored, employers should also ensure that there is always adequate lighting, guard rails and handrails in place. Common injury types include to the head, neck, back and limbs, with falls sometimes resulting in very severe injury or even death.
What to Do Next Following an Accident at Work
First of all, it’s very important that you report any accident at work, no matter how small. As well as helping to maintain and improve overall workplace safety standards, reporting your accident is an important part of any claim for compensation. Your employer should have an Accident Book in which you can report your accident. This is a formal record of what happened and when, and is important should you require time off work or require evidence should you make a claim for compensation.
Employers are also required by law to provide “adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.” In practice, your employer should have at least one member of staff who is trained to give first aid and who will help you if you need medical attention as the result of an accident. The first aider should also write up a report providing an overall description of what happened together with details of the injuries sustained. If an accident or illness suffered at work results in you being off for ten days or more, your employer is also legally required to report your accident to the HSE in what is known as RIDDOR report, which refers to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
The Claims Process
Once your accident has been properly reported and recorded, if the injury, illness or disease has been suffered because of your employer’s negligence, then the compensation claims process can begin. Contacting a solicitor that has expertise in workplace injuries is highly recommended, as they will have the skill and experience to properly represent you and to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation that is available. Whilst your employer will be insured against workplace accident claims, insurance companies will often dispute a claim so it is vital that your solicitor understands how to achieve a successful outcome on your behalf.
The next steps include:
· Medical Assessment – having received any relevant records from your GP together with the notes from any hospital visits, your solicitor will arrange an appointment with a medical expert. This will provide your Solicitor with a full assessment of the injuries that you have sustained and, combined with the additional facts you have provided, will allow them to give a compensation valuation on your claim.
· Liability Assessment – this is the stage where the defendant’s insurer either admits or denies being liable (that is, being at fault or not). Your solicitor will send details of the potential settlement to the defendant’s insurer; if liability is admitted, then a compensation settlement will be negotiated on your behalf by your solicitor and your claim can be successfully concluded.
· Going to Court – your solicitor may issue Court Proceedings if the costs and level of compensation cannot be agreed or the defendant insurer does not admit liability (that is, denies being at fault). If liability is being denied, the defendant insurer must give good reason as to why. In this case, your solicitor will take further instructions from you to enable them to build a claim against the defendants. This usually results in further negotiations between the two parties and the claim being settled without the need to actually go to Court. If the negotiations aren’t successful and the claim does go to Court, the ultimate decision on whether you will be successful will lie with the Judge.
Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors
At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured through no fault of their own, and helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve.
If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.