Injury at Work Compensation Guide
Updated August 2018 by Ayoub Khan.
Despite strict health and safety laws enforced in a wide range of working environments, thousands of people suffer from an injury at work each and every day.
From falls on construction sites and neck strain injuries caused by sitting in the incorrect position at your desk, through to trips and slips, workplace accidents are not uncommon – far from it.
The good news is, if you’ve had an injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Each and every day, our highly professional Aston Knight Solicitors handle a diverse range of accident at work related claims.
Workers are protected in two key ways:
The Law of Negligence
This long-held principle states that employers owe employees a duty of care. This duty of care is divided into four principles:
a) To provide a safe place of work – e.g. floors to be free from trip or slip hazards.
b) To provide a safe system of work – e.g. machinery to be turned off before any maintenance works are carried out.
c) To provide a competent staff – e.g. fellow workers to be safe and suitably trained.
d) To provide adequate plant and materials – e.g. to provide construction workers with protective hard hats.
Health and Safety Laws
Health and Safety Laws set out detailed requirements including risk assessments and training.
Specific health and safety laws in place:
a) The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – these laws govern what the employer must do when it comes to lifting activities such as risk assessments, ensuring there is two-man lift, and more.
b) The Work at Height Regulations 2005 – these protect employees working at height. There should be a careful risk assessment regarding both the risk of a fall, and the risk of falling objects, following which a safe system of work should be put into place.
c) The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – these are perhaps the most important workplace health and safety laws of all, providing detailed requirements for risk assessments and training.
d) The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – these regulations provide detailed requirements for working with potentially dangerous equipment such as saws.
e) The Construction Regulations 2015 – as the name suggests, these govern construction sites such as ensuring the site is clear of hazards.
f) The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – these include requirements such as floors being free of slip or trip hazards, workplaces to have adequate heating and lighting, cleanliness and many more.
In addition, if an injury at work occurs following a general UK law being broken, such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the employer could be liable.
If an employer has been negligent and/or broken a health and safety law, and it leads to a worker being injured, that employee will be able to claim compensation, both for their injuries and any financial repercussions, such as lost earnings.
However, it’s not just the employer that has to abide by the law. If someone suffers an injury at work because of the actions of an employee, as long as what the employee did was connected to their employment, the employer will be expected to accept blame. This rule includes an employee being violent.
Workers can also be injured at work over the course of time, such as noise induced hearing loss, which is referred to as “industrial disease.” Other industrial diseases include hearing damage, vibration white finger, repetitive strains, and many more.
£8,500 for Injured Factory Worker
Mr K was working in a factory when, as a result of his employer’s negligence, chemicals were splashed in his eye resulting in both vision problems and irritation. James Winterbottom of Aston Knight Solicitors first secured an admission of liability before...Read More View All
Verified as an accurate and true testimonial by Ayoub Khan, Solicitor, Aston Knight Solicitors (client surname redacted to protect client confidentiality)
Injury at Work Compensation FAQs
Jump to section:
- Can I claim if the accident was no-one’s fault?
- Can I claim if the accident was my fault?
- If I claim will I lose my job?
- Can I claim if I no longer work there?
- My employer wants to have a meeting about the accident, do I have to go?
- Another worker assaulted me, can I claim compensation for that or I should I go to the police?
- My boss told me not to claim, what should I do?
- I’m injured but I can’t afford to be off work, what should I do?
- The company has closed down now, can I still claim?
- How long do I have to make a claim?
- How much compensation will I receive?
- My employer won’t add my accident into the accident book, what should I do?
- My employer investigated the accident and concluded it was not their fault, what should I do?
- Any further questions?
Can I claim if the accident was no-one’s fault?
Generally, to succeed you need to prove either your employer, or a fellow colleague, was negligent. All employers owe their employees a duty of care – to keep them safe at work. Also, all workers owe their colleagues a duty of care to ensure their actions do not put their fellow employees at risk.
Sometimes however people do not fully understand or appreciate how their accident happened and there can often be systems in place that people do not realise are dangerous until someone is injured.
As all cases are different, if in doubt it’s best to seek confidential legal advice. Aston Knight Solicitors offer free, confidential legal advice so feel free to get in touch on either 0161 447 9191 or email@example.com.
Can I claim if the accident was my fault?
Again, similarly to the answer to question 1, ordinarily to succeed you will need to prove either your employer or a fellow employee was negligent and it was that negligence that caused your injuries. However, all cases are different and sometimes people think an accident is their fault when really it is the system put in place by the employer that is unsafe.
If I claim will I lose my job?
Employment laws protect employees so, generally, if you have worked somewhere long enough to be covered by the law, your employer cannot dismiss you just because you made a claim. In fact, to treat someone differently because they were involved in a legal case is against the law. Remember, your employer has employer’s liability insurance in case any of their employees are injured at work – it is that insurance company that pays out if you win your case, similarly to how if you suffer a car accident it is the negligent driver’s insurance company that provides the compensation.
Remember, seeking compensation for a workplace injury does not mean your relationship with your employer has to suffer – we have acted for thousands of clients who have suffered an accident at work but have maintained a good relationship with their employer and continued working there without issue.
Can I claim if I no longer work there?
Absolutely – your claim will be dealt with by the insurance company your employer had cover with at the time of your accident; irrespective of where you now work it is that insurance company that will deal with the case.
My employer wants to have a meeting about the accident, do I have to go?
This is a very common question. Generally you need to co-operate with your employer so far as reasonable, or your employer may be able to dismiss you. However, it is always best to be careful as some less reputable companies may try to use that meeting to press you to admit the accident was your fault. If your employer insists you attend you could try asking for someone to accompany you, or for the meeting to be recorded, or, if that is not acceptable, to make sure you have a chance to check the minutes of the meeting afterwards, and note anything you don’t agree with as minutes are not always accurate, particularly if they are prepared by the company responsible for your injuries.
Another worker assaulted me, can I claim compensation for that or I should I go to the police?
Both – any criminal activity should be reported to the police immediately, irrespective of what anyone else might tell you; remember – your safety comes first. The law regarding harm done by other employees is actually quite extensive – generally, if something is done whilst at work it is covered by the employer’s liability insurance.
We often hear from clients who have been incorrectly advised by other law firms that they only have a criminal injury claim (a low value compensation system operated by the Government for victims of crime) – this is wrong and can lead to missing out on a much higher settlement. Always seek advice from a specialist law firm.
My boss told me not to claim, what should I do?
Please see the answer to question 3.
Nobody should ever prevent you from accessing your legal rights. It is perhaps best to begin by seeking confidential legal advice, such as that offered by Aston Knight Solicitors, which you can use to make a decision.
I’m injured but I can’t afford to be off work, what should I do?
Many private sector employees lack sick pay protection these days, which can cause difficulties. Most people do not know what, if any, sick pay protection they have until they’re off work; you will need to check your employment contract carefully to see what, if any, sick pay cover you have. Generally however it is always best to follow the advice of your doctor as continuing to work when you are injured can lead to a delayed recovery or worsened injuries.
Some cases settle in a matter of months and if you win you will recover lost earnings caused by the accident. Bigger cases that take longer can be trickier but a specialist personal injury firm will work closely with you to explore all options to assist whilst your case is ongoing such as benefits, perhaps obtaining an “interim payment” which means part of your compensation upfront whilst your case settles, or perhaps offering a compensation advance to assist.
The company has closed down now, can I still claim?
As explained in question 4 above, as long as your employer had insurance at the time of your accident (the vast majority do as it is illegal not to) then that is all that matters. In many of our cases, particularly industrial deafness, the company has long since shut down, but we deal with their insurance company instead.
How long do I have to make a claim?
Generally 3 years from the date of your accident. Sometimes this can be extended for situations where the injuries don’t show up until many years later, such as industrial deafness. However, it is always best to work on the side of caution and seek legal advice as quickly as possible as once the time limit has expired there is no way to proceed, irrespective of how good a case you have or how severe your injuries are.
How much compensation will I receive?
Every case is different so it is impossible to advise with certainty at the outset. Your compensation will be made up of different elements such as injury compensation, financial losses already incurred such as lost earnings and future losses – things you will incur in the future due to your injuries such as medical treatment, future loss of earnings, care requirements, and many more.
The law regarding how compensation is calculated is extremely complex, particularly for serious injuries. For anyone with a serious injury it is crucial to always use a specialist solicitor with a proven track record as missing something could mean a difference of tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds. Aston Knight Solicitors have a proven track record with serious injuries including fatalities and severe disablement and will ensure your case is run properly by an experienced solicitor from start to finish.
Beware of law firms who purport to advise you of the likely compensation award right at the outset – there is no way they could know at this stage and often figures are quoted to entice the client into instructing the firm in question. Aston Knight Solicitors will provide as much guidance as possible but we’ll never provide specific advice at the outset.
My employer won’t add my accident into the accident book, what should I do?
Your employer is under a legal duty to record all accidents – try insisting and if that doesn’t work email or put something in writing to record what happened, when, who was involved, where and why it happened. Sometimes less reputable employers will either deny knowledge of an accident or dispute the circumstances.
Accidents which result in you being off work for a week or more require the employer to notify the Health and Safety Executive – the HSE, who will choose whether to investigate. Failing to notify the HSE can result in a significant fine to the employer.
My employer investigated the accident and concluded it was not their fault, what should I do?
Remember, it is always best to seek confidential legal advice. We see many cases where the internal investigation concludes the company was not at fault but we go on to succeed for the client. Remember – it is often in their interests to record it was not their fault – that doesn’t make it true!
Aston Knight Solicitors have even succeeded in cases where the HSE have investigated and concluded the employer was not at fault – remember, the HSE sometimes only knows what the employer tells them, the facts can often be very different.
No problem; the legal system can often seem very daunting. Try giving us a call on 0161 447 9191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think you have grounds to make an accident at work claim? Get in touch!
If you’ve suffered as a result of an injury at work and think you could be entitled to compensation, please get in touch. Our friendly, professional, and experienced team is always on hand to answer any of your questions.