Under the law of negligence, all employers are responsible for protecting their employees from reasonably foreseeable injuries. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen at work under varying circumstances and in some instances could lead to a work accident claim.
Workplace accidents could occur because of lack of proper training, inappropriate or defective equipment, hazards in the workplace, lack of protective clothing, mistakes made by other employees or even assaults at work. If you sustain an injury in the workplace due to any of the above or other reasons, you may be eligible to file for compensation.
What Counts As Negligence In The Workplace?
Unlike most other scenarios where the parameters of negligence are more defined and clear cut, defining what constitutes negligence in the workplace is slightly more complex. This is because the very meaning of a ‘safe day at work’ can vary hugely depending on the job itself. The connotation of safety for someone working in the armed forces or as a fire fighter, police officer or security guard is quite different from that of a teacher or someone working in a 9-5 office job.
However, irrespective of the kind of job or the level of risk involved the basic principle remains the same – your employer is responsible for taking all steps necessary to ensure that your working environment is as safe and free from harm as possible. For a fire fighter or police officer this may mean providing the best possible safety equipment along with the highest standards of training, whereas for an office-goer it may mean providing a healthy indoor environment and proper working facilities.
You’ve Been Injured In The Workplace – Should You Make A Work Accident Claim?
If you’ve sustained an injury or fallen ill whilst carrying out your work, you have to first consider if there was anything that your employer could have done that could have prevented it from happening. If the answer is ‘yes’ then your employer has been negligent, and you have a right to file a work accident claim for compensation.
Injuries at work do not necessarily always result from the direct action or direct inaction of an employer. Sometimes the reasons may be more circuitous. It could be because of the failure to provide and maintain a safe working environment for employees, whether through inaction, lack of training, inappropriate equipment or any other form of negligence. Tripping over loose wires or slipping over a patch of spilt oil would also constitute workplace negligence and are sufficient grounds for compensation.
Regardless of the immediate cause, if it is apparent that the employer did not take the precautions required to protect employees from potential injury, the employer will almost certainly be held liable for those injuries.
A successful work accident claim will depend on you being able to demonstrate that your employer failed to provide a safe working environment and that this resulted in you suffering the injury.
The Unique Dynamics Of Work Accident Claims
Filing for a work accident claim can be quite different from most other personal injury claims. This is because of the unique dynamics between the two parties involved. The entity you will be filing against is in fact the same one paying your salary so while you may be entitled to and may actually win your case for compensation, it could be at the cost of your job. However, you should know that it is not that simple – a company that fires an employee immediately after they’ve filed for personal injury compensation could be hauled into court again for injustice.
Another reason why many employees hesitate to file a work accident claim is because they are concerned that they may be labelled as a trouble-maker, jeopardising their prospects of finding a job anywhere else. Here again, strict laws have been put in place that forbid employers from asking prospective employees about their prior involvement in any such legal action so that should definitely not be cause for hesitation if you think you have a solid case.
What this ultimately adds up to is the simple fact that the only thing you should consider when deciding whether to pursue a work accident claim is the strength of your case. A personal injury lawyer, working on a no win no fee basis, will examine all of the evidence and, if you have a realistic chance of succeeding, will build the strongest possible case. The evidence for this claim will consist of written records in your workplace accident books medical reports and receipts of all expenses arising from your injury.