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I had an accident at work, what are my rights?

Carl Waring

Carl Waring

|  2nd July 2020  |


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Let’s turn this question around, a bit. Your employer’s duty of care to you starts the minute you walk into the workplace or jump into the cab of a company lorry, car or other vehicle to start your day’s work. In other words, your rights as an employee start as soon as you start a day’s work for your employer.

Employers are under a duty to take reasonable care of their employees and to ensure their health and safety during the course of their employment. Their duty is to provide them with:

  • Competent staff colleagues
  • Adequate plant and equipment
  • A safe system of work
  • Safe premises

If they breach this duty of care by failing to ensure your safety whilst you are doing your job and as a result of your employer’s negligence you suffer an injury at work, then you have a right to make a claim for compensation.

But won’t I get sacked for making an accident at work claim against my employer?

We know that the fear of getting sacked for making a personal injury claim against their employer puts a lot of people off making accident at work compensation claims. It does so, even though the injured worker is often likely to lose earnings through having time off work to recover from the accident at work, that was caused by their employer!

Let’s try and debunk the myth that you will get sacked for making a workplace accident compensation claim:

  1. All employers are required by law to have liability insurance in force that will cover them in the event that an employee gets injured in an accident at work that was due to the employer’s negligence. This is the law and is laid down in the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. This type of employer’s insurance is required by any business that has employees, whether they have 1 employee or 1000.

A lot of people feel think that if they work for a small family company, say with only a handful of employees and they bring an accident at work claim, against the company, that it may go out of business. Either that or it will be severely financially damaged if they make a claim for personal injury, loss of earnings and any other losses, against the company.

It just isn’t true. The insurance company will cover the cost of the claim. It’s what it is there for and why the government insist that they have it!

  1. Most business owners don’t take accident at work claims They accept that accidents in the workplace, happen. Being on the receiving end of an injury at work claim from an employee, usually prompts employers to tighten up on their health and safety procedures, to lessen the likelihood of something similar happening in the future.
  2. If you do have an employer that takes accidents at work to heart, even when they are caused by employer’s negligence, then they have no right to sack you or to try and make life at work difficult for you. If either of those situations were to arise, then you would have a strong claim under employment law for unfair dismissal or for constructive dismissal.

What rights do I have immediately after an accident at work?

  • You have a right to seek medical treatment. You’ve suffered a workplace accident and been injured. Your first concern should be to get your injury seen to. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, ‘require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment and personnel’ to ensure immediate attention is provided for any employee who is hurt at work.

The employer must have a designated and suitable trained first aider, amongst the workforce. Ensure that you get seen by them promptly. If you are not able to move to see them, get a colleague to call them over.

Often it will be apparent to the first aider or your fellow workers that you will need to receive medical attention at A&E. However, if you feel that you need to go to A&E or that you need an ambulance and no-one has arranged this as a matter of course, insist that someone does this.

  • The Accident Book. Each business that has 10 or more employees must keep an accident record book in which all accidents at work should be recorded. For businesses with less than 10 employees, there is no formal legal requirement to keep an accident book.

However, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations or RIDDOR for short, specify that all employers have to report and keep records of amongst other things, work related deaths, some specified serious injuries and injuries which result in a worker being off work for 7 days or more. In other words, every business should be keeping an accident book!

Make sure that the accident is recorded in the book. Ensure that you either see it being recorded in the book or that at some later stage in the near future you or a colleague sees that it has been put in. This is one area where employers can be tempted to try and keep details of an accident off the record. This may be so that they can show a ‘clean bill of health’ to the Health and Safety Executive inspectors (HSE), for example. Make sure your accident is recorded.

  • Take some photos of the scene of the accident. If your injuries permit, take them yourself a soon after the accident as possible get a friendly colleague to do it for you. Your employers may not be keen on this but insist on doing it or again get a colleague to do it if you can’t.
  • Right to get paid whilst off work? You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and this is the only payment you automatically have a right to. Your contract of employment may contain a clause that provides that you will be paid in full whilst off work. That is a contractual right, if it exists at all. Some employers will ensure that if you have an accident at work, they will pay you in full, as a gesture of goodwill. If you only receive SSP, then part of your claim for compensation will be for loss of earnings over and above the amount of SSP that you’ve been paid. Ensure that your accident at work claim solicitor includes this as part of your claim. Which brings us on to the final ‘right’ on the list.
  • You have a right to get legal advice with a view to making an accident at work claim and you are entitled to claim! Choose your personal injury solicitor wisely. Not all solicitors are the same. That is to say, that if the solicitor you had in mind, is an expert in other areas of law, it doesn’t mean that they will be an expert in dealing with employers liability claims (another name for accident at work claims).

If you are still undecided which solicitor to choose, why not call us here at Mooneerams Solicitors. We tick all the boxes:

  1. We are exclusively personal injury solicitors. We only take on personal injury cases.
  2. Mooneerams are experts in accident at work compensation claims
  3. We are personal injury solicitors in Cardiff, South Wales. However, we take on claims for clients all over Wales and England. We always have done so, but in any event, as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown has proved, it’s possible to carry on business with the rest of the country from wherever you are. Getting a specialist accident at work solicitor on your side is more important than whether they are local to you.
  4. We take on most Accident at Work claims on a No Win, No Fee

Call Mooneerams – The Personal Injury Solicitors – on 029 2048 3615 if you’ve had an accident at work.

Even if you are unsure about whether to claim or whether you have a valid claim, call us and one of our experienced accident at work team will talk to you and go through the circumstances of the potential claim. if we think you have reasonable prospects of success, we’ll tell you there and then. Then it will be entirely your choice whether you ask us to deal with your claim or not. There’ll be no pressure put on you. Of course, we hope you will choose Mooneerams though!

Mooneerams solicitors are on 029 2048 3615  or you can ask us to call you back by leaving your contact details on this page or by going to our contact page and doing the same!


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