What is a Personal Injury at Work?
If you have had the misfortune of being involved in an accident at work, whether it be a slip on a wet floor, a fall from height or a lack of training, you may have sustained injuries as a result. In some circumstances you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
At Aston Knight Solicitors, a local personal injury solicitors in Bury, we often get asked what kind or what severity of injury warrants a personal injury claim or what exactly personal injury means?
Firstly, a personal injury can be explained as any injury to an individual, both physical and psychological.
A physical injury is not just limited to a fracture of the bone, or a tear of the skin resulting in blood; a physical personal injury can simply be a soft tissue injury, for example a muscle strain in the neck following a road traffic accident commonly referred to as a whiplash injury, or a sprain and/or bruising of the ankle following a slip/trip over a pothole in the road. A psychological injury is a fear or apprehension when faced with, or placed within, similar circumstances to when the accident occurred, for example, anxiety in a car following an accident or fear of cycling following a collision.
For the purpose of claiming personal injury compensation, a claimant has to demonstrate that the injuries caused to them were not their fault and are of a severe enough nature that they surpass the small claims limit (currently £1000.00).
Here we look at the kind of common injuries that lead to claims for personal injury compensation.
Common Injuries suffered at Work
- Back Injuries. A common thread among accidents at work is claimants suffering from back injuries. Back injuries can vary from a simple strain to a serious injury which can permanently affect the sufferer’s quality of life. Employers have strict responsibilities to ensure that employees are given training and guidance regarding safe lifting and that if heavy items are involved, equipment (forklifts, trolleys etc) are provided. Back injuries can be caused in accidents at work as a result of limited working space and badly designed work stations. Employees must report any issues causing or likely to cause injury and an employer is then duty bound to do everything reasonably possible to remove such risks to their workforce. Back injuries can be hard to link to a particular incident so it is vital that any accident at work is reported to an employer promptly and that medical attention is sought.
- Lacerations. Lacerations often occur in accident at work related claims. All sorts of office implements can end up leaving their user nursing a painful cut. The most common causes of these lacerations including poor training, inadequate safety procedures and failing to wear the proper protection. Lacerations can be nasty, sometimes fatal and usually leave scarring. Such injuries will form part of the valuation of your settlement award.
- Soft Tissue Injuries. Soft tissue Injuries is the label applied to injuries not affecting organs or bones. Such injuries would usually be bruising and sprains.
- Fractures. Fractures often arise in the more serious accident at work claims. Personal injury claims will often include fractures to forearms, fingers, legs, pelvis and shoulder. Certain fractures are worse than others, such as damage to the pelvis, femur or lower legs. Accidents at work involving falls from heights, such as ladders or scaffold collapses can cause such injuries.
- Fatalities. Fortunately, fatalities are relatively rare in the workplaces of the UK. However, when accidents at work involve dangerous equipment, they can sadly lead to injuries so severe that the injured party is killed. If you are the relative of next of kin of someone killed in an accident at work, you can pursue a claim for personal injury compensation on their behalf posthumously.
Of course, as well as the common injuries listed above, there are numerous other injuries that can be caused by someone involved in a non-fault injury at work, such as psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and many others.
Your employer has a duty to protect you and tell you about health and safety issues that affect you. If the accident was not your fault, such as a result of a faulty machine, lack of training or serious health and safety breach you have strong grounds to pursue your employer for a claim for accident at work compensation. As with all claims, as well as claiming compensation for your injuries, you are also entitled to claim for associated losses (such as lost income) known as special damages.
If you have been injured in an accident at work, you may be able to claim compensation. You normally have three years to claim following the accident.
If you have suffered an accident or injury at work which was not your fault, Aston Knight solicitors may be able to help you make a personal injury claim. To discuss your individual case in more detail, contact us on 0800 999 6661.
By Emma Pearce, Solicitor