While there are numerous Health and Safety Acts and regulations to protect employees and employers from accident at work claims as much as possible, the workplace is still one of the most dangerous environments when it comes to accidents.
In theory, claiming for an accident in the workplace where injury has been sustained because of an act or negligence from a third party should be simple. However, there are a number of factors to consider when making an accident at work claim and while some people may be concerned about taking their employer to court, there are potential consequences further down the line if employers are not held to account.
Common Accident At Work Claims
While the details of individual accident at work claims will vary, common workplace injuries originate from:
- Manual handling accidents.
- Slips, trips, and falls at work.
- Moving objects and other workplace machinery.
We also know that some of the more at risk professions include:
- Warehouse workers.
- Construction and building trade workers.
- Healthcare workers.
Comments from those who have suffered accidents in the workplace suggest that some people assume there is a degree of risk and potential injury in any workplace scenario. While this may be the case to a certain degree, it is worth remembering that each individual employer has a duty of care to protect their employees. This duty of care is wide ranging and takes in a number of different areas which we will cover below.
Reporting An Accident In The Workplace
If you experience any kind of accident in the workplace it should be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Each employer should have, to use an old term, an “accident book” which is a detailed account of all incidents and accidents in the workplace and who was involved. Your employer also has a duty to report accidents to the Health and Safety Executive and you can check this for yourself in the aftermath of the incident. Even if you are not sure that the accident will result in a personal injury claim it is still worth reporting the incident for a reference point further down the line.
Your Employer’s Duty Of Care
When in the workplace, or indeed working off-site, an employer has a legal duty of care to ensure that their employees are protected. There will be incidents where the employer has done all they could to make the workplace as safe as possible but an accident still occurred. It will depend upon the type of accident and the specific details but just because there is an accident in the workplace causing injury does not necessarily mean your employer was negligent and may be liable to damages. If you have any doubt about the validity of your work accident claim you should speak to a personal injury solicitor for an initial no obligation consultation. Call us free on 0800 652 1345.
Areas in which your employer has a duty of care include:
- Maintaining a safe working environment.
- Ensuring that all equipment is maintained and repaired correctly.
- Providing safety equipment where applicable.
- Installing safety guards on potentially dangerous machinery.
- Detailing working procedures to avoid accidents.
- Training staff on machinery and safety.
- Constantly reviewing working practices and potential safety issues.
There are many different scenarios in which workplace injuries can occur and as you will see above, even if machinery is maintained and safety equipment provided, if there is insufficient training for those operating the workplace machinery then the employer could still be liable. If you experience an injury from workplace machinery for example and it was proved that your employer failed to abide by the above regulations then there is every chance they could be found negligent and liable for work injury compensation.
Bullying And Intimidation In The Workplace
The regulatory framework regarding bullying and intimidation in the workplace has been tightened recently and now includes so-called whistleblowers. Unfortunately, many potential claimants entitled to personal injury compensation are concerned about losing their long-term employment if they take their employer to court. Any form of intimidation is illegal and, while not the perfect scenario, if you find yourself in this situation you need to report it as soon as possible.
We have seen instances where employers have tried emotional blackmail, suggesting the company would need to close down if forced to pay out any compensation. In this instance it is worth reminding ourselves that as a matter of law all employers/ businesses require insurance to cover accidents in the workplace and any potential compensation payments. Indeed, even where a company has ceased trading it will be the obligation of the company’s former insurance company to cover any compensation award. It is irrelevant as to whether the company is trading after the accident, as long as insurance cover was live on the day of the accident then compensation is guaranteed.
Sources Of Immediate Income After An Accident In Work
It may surprise many to learn but in the event of an accident in work which prevents you from working (in which your employer will likely be found negligent and liable for compensation) your employer is not legally obliged to pay your full salary. You will usually be able to claim statutory sick pay but for many people this is but a fraction of their weekly pay and can cause financial problems. A number of employment contracts will have a minimum statutory sick pay some of which your employer may contribute to. If it is written in your employment contract that you are entitled to additional funding on top of the statutory sick pay then this will still be in place even though you are potentially in conflict with your employer.
Proving Negligence And Liability In Accident At Work Claims
There are many accident at work claims where it is pretty much an open and shut case with regards to negligence and liability on behalf of an employer. In these instances it is usually just a case of making an out-of-court settlement to cover general damages, such as pain and suffering, change in lifestyle, and special damages, which relate to out-of-pocket expenses in the past and the future, together with loss of earnings.
On occasions an employer may well decide to take the court route if there is any doubt about negligence and liability and indeed where there may be a split liability. The term “split liability” relates to an accident where the courts deem the claimant partially responsible, resulting in a reduced payment. Whether your accident at work claim is fairly straightforward or potentially complicated you will need to provide full details of the incident to your personal injury solicitor, when, how, and why it happened together with witness statements and medical reports. There will also be occasions where employers are taken to court by the Health and Safety Executive and sometimes this action can strengthen a work injury claim.
Start An Accident At Work Claim
There can be few more difficult situations than taking your employer to court for compensation after an accident caused by negligence in the workplace. While the vast majority of employers will play this by the book there are others who will potentially try to intimidate and bully claimants. Thankfully, there are laws in place today which cover intimidation in the workplace and ensure that claimants will feel more comfortable reporting valid accidents and injuries.
If you are in any doubt about pursuing a compensation claim for an injury sustained in the workplace, remember this. Money talks in the world of business and if you decide not to pursue your accident at work claim, the likelihood is that the danger in question will remain and somebody else could suffer a similar (or worse) injury in the future.
To speak with a accident at work solicitor confidentially about a potential accident at work claim please contact us today.