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Engaging a solicitor to represent you for your claim and compensation can often be daunting, raising a lot of questions, which adds further stress what might already be an extremely stressful situation. Therefore, having the frequently asked questions at your disposal, you’re able to fully understand your situation, your right to claim and any ramifications surrounding the course of action you decide to take with regards to making a legal claim.

Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions, we as a solicitor often receive during a compensation claim.

When Should you Report an Injury at Work?

The answer is quite simply… immediately if possible. Should you be harmed because of an injury at work, you should immediately report this to your employer, unless you need immediate medical attention. At the first chance you can, you should formally report the injury to the employer, including the details of the hazard that caused the workplace injury.

When will you Get Paid for an Injury at Work?

Typically, you will either receive an out-of-court settlement agreement, which your solicitor will present to you for approval, or should your claim go to court, you will receive your claim compensation when the final judgement has been made and all the paper work has been processed. However, it must be noted that patience is a necessity within legal proceedings; a claim can take months, often years to go through but if the final judgement is made, you will receive your compensation. 

There are instances where solicitors such as Aston Knight will provide you with a £1,000 Cash Advance subject to terms and conditions and meeting the criteria for the release of the £1,000. This can help subsidise costs occurred throughout the claim process.

How do I report an Injury at Work?

Each company should have an accident/injury report book as standard practice as per the health and safety legislation by the UK government. To report an injury at work, you should fill out the company accident book at your earliest convenience. Additionally, you should contact your line manager and health and safety teams to inform them of your injury and the report made in the accident logbook.

How to Claim for an Injury at Work?

If you’re feeling uncertain with how your employer is dealing with your injury at work, you should look to instruct a solicitor as soon as possible. There are many instances where the employer has offered money immediately in an effort to save the [possibly] thousands of pounds that you are entitled to. You should always contact a solicitor regardless of whether you proceed with the claim. This is important purely for your own peace of mind depending on the course of action you choose to take. 

Once you engage a solicitor, supply them with all the details of the claim/case and depending on your decision, allow the solicitor to make the claim on your behalf. The solicitor will then handle the claim throughout, dealing with the defendant’s defence team, and documentation should the claim need to go to court. You as the claimant will not need to do anything else other than respond to correspondence and provide additional information if requested by your solicitor.

How Do I Prevent Injury at Work?

Hazards are all around you – you cannot fully guarantee that a workplace injury won’t occur, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work to minimise the chance of an injury occurring at work. To do so, ensure your company has an up-to-date health and safety policy, with accurate procedures in place to avoid typical causes of injuries at work. 

These may be one or more of the following: 
- Cable trips 
- Slips from spillages 
- Trips from upturned carpets 
- Cuts from sharp corners 
- Banging of heads from low bannisters or structural beams 

Work with your health and safety team to cover these areas where possible and remove any potential for injuries by covering corners and sharp edges, loose cables and nail down upturned carpets.

Can You Claim for a Back Injury at Work?

Within the UK and Wales, you can and should claim for a back-injury at work. All workplace injuries receive the right to claim for compensation. Should the back-injury cause discomfort or serious pain and well-being issues, you should seriously consider a workplace compensation claim. 

See our back injury at work compensation guide for more information.

How Much Would I Get from a Back Injury at Work?

The severity of your back injury and the impact it will have on your future life determines the type of injury compensation you can claim. You can claim up to £128,320 in injury compensation depending on the threshold you sit within. Below is an example of the back-injury thresholds that outline the levels of compensation you might receive. 

Back Injury Mild Up to £9,970 For soft tissue, a slipped disc, any muscle pain would receive this amount of injury compensation. Back Injury Moderate to Severe £9,970 – £30,910 This range of compensation amounts might cover ligaments or the soft tissue on the back, any constant pain and /or any discomfort. Back Injury Extremely Sever £30,910 – £128,320 Severe injury to the upper or lower back, possibly causing paralysis or any relating issues to organs in the lower parts of the body.

Who Pays for Injury at Work?

In the workplace, the employer Is responsible for insuring against any workplace injury. They also have to comply with standard health and safety regulations to ensure the workplace is a safe environment for employees to work within. Therefore, the employer, or their insurer representatives, if unsuccessful in defending an injury at work claim, will pay the compensation claim.

Why Should I Report an Injury at Work?

You should report an injury at work if the injury has impacted your day-to-day life and will impact the future comfort of your life. It is important to your health and well-being that you’re compensated for an injury if it restricts your future well-being in any way physically or mentally. You must consider how the injury impacts your ability to work and perform activities outside of work when considering whether you should report an injury at work.

What are Industrial Injuries at Work?

Industrial injuries at work are injuries that occur over time in industrial working environments, that are unlikely to occur in an office environment. 

The industries these types of injuries occur in are: 
- Manufacturing 
- Construction 
- Logistics 
- Cleaning 
- Transportation 

There are different types of industrial injuries, but some include: 
- Asbestosis 
- Repetitive strains 
- A loss of hearing 
- Asthma from dealing with dust and other compounds 
- Lyme disease, emphysema, carcinoma or cirrhosis.

What is a Personal Injury at Work?

A personal injury at work is an injury caused in the workplace to yourself or an individual that has resulted in personal harm, discomfort or poor-health.

What is a Minor Injury at Work?

A minor injury at work is an injury at work to any part of the body that has resulted in no more than a minor injury to the injured individual or group. Minor injuries vary in severity depending on the part of the body that that have impacted. For example, a minor injury to a finger will vary in severity to a minor injury to a back and as a result the type of compensation for both will vary, too.

Can I be Sacked After an Injury at Work?

You cannot be sacked after an injury at work, even if you have successfully claimed for compensation. If you are, this is victimisation and you have a legal right to claim for compensation if you are injured at work – that’s what the company’s employer’s liability insurance is there for – in case someone suffers an accident. 

It is important to maintain a professional and friendly working relationship with your employer and become an advocate within the businesses of helping to improve the working environment to avoid further workplace injuries. The Discrimination At Work Act outlines that an employer cannot discriminate against or remove an employee because of a workplace injury compensation claim. If you feel you are subject to discrimination at work because of your workplace injury claim you should seek further legal advice and contact your HR team to formally complain/report your concerns. You should also provide this information to the solicitor.

If you continue to experience difficulties we recommend you seek employment law advice, but in our experience in the vast majority of cases there is no issue.

Injury at work – what are my rights?

See our injury at work rights guide and the FAQs below for more information.

Does it matter if I change employment?

People often ask whether changing employer after an accident will affect their ability to claim compensation and the simple answer is no. The claim is made against the employer’s liability insurance company which means it does not matter whether you leave after your accident.

How long do I have to make a claim?

The standard rule is that court proceedings have to be issued within 3 years of the date of the accident. However, in order to allow time for your case to be prepared, and hopefully settled without the need for court proceedings, it is crucial that you seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident. Generally, the earlier you seek legal advice after an accident the better your prospects of success will be, and the better the chance of settling your case without the need for court proceedings.

There are certain instances in which people have longer than 3 years from the date of an accident to make a claim such as if you are injured as a result of a gradual process such as noise induced hearing loss, or hand arm vibration syndrome – the test then is 3 years from the date of knowledge which means the date you knew, or should have known, you had suffered injury as a result of negligence.

Does my employer have to pay me lost wages whilst I am off?

Many people not in public sector positions receive somewhat of a shock if they are off work following an accident in that many private sector employment contracts come with no sick pay protection, leaving them with nothing other than Statutory Sick Pay, which is paltry and certainly not enough to manage on. Whilst the law entitles you to recover lost earnings caused by an accident as part of your compensation if you win, this is usually at the end of the case. 

Therefore, people with denied cases that take some time to resolve, perhaps including court proceedings, can be left in a difficult position in the short-term. There are however some options available in admitted cases to obtain compensation earlier such as requesting an interim payment of compensation from the Defendant’s insurance company or if the law firm offers a compensation or cash advance, subject to their terms and conditions.

Does my employer have to make changes after my accident?

If an employee has been injured as a result of a dangerous situation or an unsafe work practice then any sensible employer would work to eradicate the risk as soon as possible following, otherwise if anyone else is injured in the same circumstances they will almost certainly be negligent as they were on notice of the risk.

If your injuries leave you needing changes then your employer is under a duty to make reasonable adjustments; this could be a change to your desktop set-up following a repetitive strain injury or offering you light duties following a lifting injury for example. An employer who fails to make such adjustments despite being aware of an employee’s health circumstances will likewise be putting themselves at a high risk of being found negligent in the event you suffer further injury as a result.

My employer is refusing to record my accident in the accident book, what should I do?

Employers have a legal duty to record accidents and, in more serious cases where an employee needs time off, to file a report to the Health and Safety Executive known as a “RIDDOR report”. Failing to file a RIDDOR report can result in a large fine for the employer from the HSE, plus a judge would not look too kindly.

If your employer refuses to document your accident in the accident book then you should document it yourself as urgently as possible perhaps via sending a letter or email, retaining a copy. Defendants will often argue an accident is fictitious because it wasn’t documented at the time, even in situations in which the employee states they reported it and it was the employer’s fault for not documenting it – don’t fall into that trap – make sure it is documented in some manner.

What if the accident book entry is incorrect?

This again is a common scenario; sometimes the facts will be twisted by the employer or someone in a management position in order to make it harder for the employee to seek compensation later. Some accident books require the employee to sign to confirm it is accurate – always check very carefully and never sign off anything you do not agree with. Try to make a note of the correct circumstances on the accident book entry before signing or if that is not allowed refuse to sign and then document the correct circumstances yourself via some other method such as email or letter, retaining a copy.

If you are not shown the accident book, but suspect it has been recorded incorrectly, then ask to see it and try to make a copy or take a photograph if possible.

The writer has even seen situations in which an accident report was done at the time only to be switched later on for a version that makes it harder for someone to claim compensation – the only way to guard against this is to retain a copy.

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