Accidents at work can arise in all manner of circumstances and the injuries suffered can vary in severity significantly. If you have suffered a workplace injury, you may be eligible to make an accident at work compensation claim, so this infographic provides all the information you are likely to need to help determine whether this is the right course of action for you.
Accident at Work Statistics
• 646,000 workers had an accident whilst at work during 2012/2013
• 231,000 required up to 3 days absence from work, with 175,000 requiring over 7 days absence
• 148 workers were fatally injured during 2012/2013- less than half the number killed 20 years ago
• Over half of the reported fatal accidents were due to falls from height, contact with moving machinery and being struck by a vehicle
• Injuries from falls, slips and trips were the most commonly reported accidents, accounting three in every ten injuries reported
• 3 million working days lost through handling injuries and slips and trips.
The UK Law and Accident at Work Claims
• Employers and business owners have a legal responsibility in the UK over the safety and welfare of their employees and all visitors to their premises.
• All businesses must hold insurance and ensure they act in line with health and safety regulations to meet the legal clause guidelines
• If you have suffered an injury and feel that it was due to your employer failing to meet these guidelines, you could receive compensation through an accident at work claim
Common Causes of Accidents at Work
• Slips, trips and falls
• Faulty or poorly maintained equipment
• Dangerous machinery
• Inadequate or lack of training
• Dangerous, no health and safety compliant practices or procedures in the workplace
• Falling objects
• Poor manual handling practices due to lack of training
• Incidents with vehicles
Common Types of Injuries
• Head injuries
• Spinal injuries
• Burn and scald injuries
• Broken bones
• Cuts and lacerations
• Loss of sight
• Fatal injuries
Time Limit for Filing an Accident at Work Claim
• There is a 3 year time limit in the UK for an accident at work case to be filed
• If legal proceedings don’t begin within the three years, a case may be considered time-barred and the entitlement to compensation may be lost
• The 3 year time scale starts from the date the accident at work occurred, or from the date at which you realised the injury was associated with your work (for instance with exposure to asbestos which may not be evident for a number of years)
• If the claimant dies whilst the case is in progress, the deadline of 3 years commences from the date of their death.
Steps to Follow After an Accident at Work
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Step One- Report the Accident to Your Employer
Report the accident to your employer or the person designated as being in charge of health and safety. Provide all the details and ensure it is recorded in the company accident book. Only report the facts of the accident at this time, leaving out any opinion you may hold on fault. If you require urgent medical attention, be sure to complete stage two first.
Step Two- Get Medical Attention
Depending on the severity of your accident, you may require medical attention urgently and would therefore immediately go to the local hospital or doctor’s practice, or alternatively may be able to report the facts of the incident first. If you are well enough, make a note of the treatment received and who treated you as this may assist your solicitor further down the line.
Step Three- Witnesses
If there were others who witnessed your accident, get their names and contact details for future reference as your solicitor may contact them to gain evidence and further details regarding what happened.
Step Four- Take Photographs
Have photographers taken of the location of your accident as quickly as possible as the scene may change quickly afterwards. Take photographs from different angles and viewpoints, as well as any equipment or machinery that played a part in the incident. It may also be useful to take photographs of any injuries you suffered if they are visible as cuts and bruises can heal and fade over time.
Step Five- Make Your Own Written Record
Whilst the accident is still fresh in your mind, make your own written account of exactly what happened. Details of what you were doing when the accident happened, the tools, equipment or machinery you may have been using at the time and any other background information which could help your case should be written down.
Step Six- Keep Everything Safe
Once you have written records and photographs, keep all these together and in a safe place so they are easily accessible when the time comes to show your evidence to your solicitor.
Step Seven- Gain Professional Advice
Now is the time to contact a solicitor to provide the details of your accident and gain professional advice on the next steps to take. It is advisable not to take any settlement offer that your employer may present you with until you have taken the advice of your solicitor as this could be below what you may be entitled to if you make a claim.
What Your Solicitor Initially Needs From You
• The date, where and how the accident happened
• Contact details of any witnesses to the accident
• Comprehensive details of injuries suffered, the medical diagnosis and treatment provided
• If you are a member of a trade union, which may entitle you to free or reduced cost legal representation
• Proof of earnings lost due to absence from work following the accident
• Insurance documents to determine whether this will cover the legal costs of your claim
The Making a Claim Process
1. Your solicitor will send a claim letter to the defendant (your employer) and/or their insurance company detailing the injury suffered, the circumstances surrounding the accident and the fact that you wish to proceed with an accident at work compensation claim.
2. The defendant and their insurance company will then investigate the claim and the incident before replying to the claim letter within a set period of time.
3. The defendant will either accept liability, and therefore blame for the accident, or will deny it.
4. If liability is accepted, an out of court settlement is then more likely to be reached. If liability is denied, further negotiations will be required to take place and in extreme circumstances, where no resolution can be reached, the case will go to court.
Who Will Find Out About Your Accident at Work Claim?
Your Employer and Their Insurance Company
Your employer is likely to be fully aware of your accident following it being reported in the company’s accident book. Your employer will then be notified of your claim either via your solicitor or the company’s insurance company. The insurance company and your employer will then work together to gather further evidence and come to a decision regarding liability.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
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Reports of accidents at work, must be reported by your employer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR)
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
Any claim for compensation following an accident at work must be reported to the Department of Work and Pensions as the Compensation Recovery Unit is a part of this government sector. If you claim is successful, your employer will subsequently have to pay back any benefits you have previously received as a result of the injuries you suffered.
Quick Fire Accident at Work FAQs
Can you lose your job after making a claim?
You can’t get sacked for making an accident at work claim against your employer. If you are dismissed following the processing of a claim, your dismissal will be deemed as unfair and you will have grounds to take further legal action.
Can you claim for lost earnings following your accident?
Yes you can make a claim against any earnings you have lost following your accident at work. The lost earnings will be calculated on your average net pay based on previous wage slips and accounts.
When should you return to work?
You should only return to work once you have fully recovered and you feel ready following your accident. There is no ideal time to return to work as it is dependent upon each individual and their own recovery, however it is important to bear in mind that returning prematurely could do more harm than good.
Should you keep in regular contact with your employer during your recovery?
It is advisable to keep in regular contact with your employer to maintain the relationship and keep them up to date on how your recovery is progressing. Any discussions or meetings you do have with your employer should not involve a discussion of your claim, and instead should be focused on your welfare and level of recovery.
Will you have to go to court to obtain compensation?
Most compensation claims following an accident at work are settled out of court to avoid the high costs associated with a court case. If there is no dispute over who was at fault for the accident, your employer is likely to settle outside of court, however should there be a dispute that can’t be settled, a court case will then be required.