Accidents at Work Legal Guide
Asbestos Claim Q&A Guide
Written by Carl Waring
MORE Q&A GUIDES…
After our homes, the next place that we’d probably like to think we would be least likely to come to any harm would be at our place of work. After all, it’s where the average person is said to spend 90,000 hours during their lifetime. So, we’d like to think it’s safe to be there!
Of course, many of us go through our lives without suffering even the slightest accident at work. Sadly, that’s not the case for every employee. The key facts surrounding workplace accidents for 2020 revealed that:
- 700,000 workers self-reported that they’d sustained a non-fatal accident at work
- 65,427 employees suffered non-fatal accidents at work that were reported by their employers
- 111 fatal work accidents occurred in the same year
- £5.6 billion annual costs of workplace injuries
- 38.8 million working days lost due to work related ill-health and anon-fatal accidents in 2019/20
Health and safety at work Summary statistics for Great Britain 2020
It’s not as though the UK lacks regulations designed to protect the country’s workers from getting injured. The Health and Safety Executive are not slow to prosecute businesses who fail in their duties to prevent workers from being injured in the workplace.
Employers who breached health and safety regulations received fines in 2019/2020 of a total of £35.8 million.
Nevertheless, accidents at work continue to happen and do so for a variety of reasons.
Not all workplace accidents are the fault of employers. However, ones caused by employer negligence may entitle the injured workers to pursue an accident at work claim to recover compensation from their employer.
Accident injury claims enable an injured worker to get back to being in the position they would have been in, but for the accident – certainly financially and as much as money can compensate for injuries.
Many injured employees’ initial motivation for claiming compensation following an accident at work is to ensure they recover loss of earnings while on sick leave due to their injuries.
Every type of personal injury claim has value in terms of compensation. In accidents at work, injuries can range from minor cuts and bruising to life-altering, serious injuries.
As the HSE figures show, sadly, some workers lose their lives due to accidents at work.
All workers who get injured due to their employer’s negligence or carelessness should get fully compensated for losses and the pain and suffering they’ve endured.
This guide intends to do just what it says in the title: to be a complete guide to claiming accident at work injury compensation. It asks and attempts to answer questions such as:
- Who is entitled to claim?
- How do you go about claiming?
- Who pays any compensation awarded to an injured employee?
– and many more queries that you may want us to answer. If anything is unclear or you want to ask us about anything that we haven’t covered, please don’t hesitate to call us here at Mooneerams Solicitors.
An accident at work is when you, as a worker, are the victim of an unintended incident which causes you injury, which happened at your place of work or elsewhere whilst you were carrying out work-related duties e.g.
- You slip on a wet floor in your workplace
- You cut your hand on machinery that hasn’t got a safety guard over the moving parts
- You fall from a ladder or scaffolding whilst working
- A forklift truck in the factory/supermarket/ warehouse where you work knocks you down
‘Work- related’ is defined by RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, as ‘work related’ if any of the following were a significant factor in causing the accident:
- The method of working.
- The machinery, substances, plant or equipment used
The condition of the premises where the accident took place
Every employer owes his employees a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to protect their health and safety whilst they are at their workplace and doing the job they get paid to do. In practice, this translates to a requirement to provide employees with:
- A safe system of work,
- Safe premises that maintained to a reasonable standard
- Suitable machinery, tools, plant and equipment.
You could also add that it is a requirement on the employer to ensure that you and the people you work with are sufficiently competent to do the jobs they are employed to do. (More on this, shortly).
Note that the employer must take reasonable care of his employees. His conduct should be that of a reasonable and prudent employer. In other words, he needs to ask himself:
‘What would other reasonable and prudent employers do in a similar situation?’
Suppose your employer’s conduct falls short of what would be expected of a reasonable and prudent employer in the same circumstances, and you get injured in an accident as a result of his negligence. In that case, the employer will be in breach of the duty of care he owes to you.
The standard that the employer needs to conform to is a high one.
You would have the right to hold your employer to account by bringing an accident at work injury compensation claim against him if he is in breach of his duty of care to you, i.e., he is negligent
Accidents at work which happened before 1st October 2013
Before 1st October 2013, it was possible to bring a civil claim against an employer for personal injury arising out of a workplace accident for breach of statutory duty (i.e., an obligation imposed on an employer by a written law).
The central act of parliament used by accident at work claimants solicitors to pursue their clients’ claims was the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAW 1974). However, there are also a vast number of other work-related acts of parliament.
Statutory liability was another avenue for an injured worker to use to make a workplace accident claim. Relying on a breach of statutory duty meant that you didn’t have to prove the employer had been negligent separately.
The Enterprise Act
Unfortunately for anyone who is now contemplating an accident at work claim, in 2013, the government brought in new legislation called the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (E&RRA2013). This amended HASAW 1974 to make it that after 1st October 2013, it would no longer be possible to claim that an employer had been in breach of an act of parliament and therefore was liable for a work-related claim. The claimant, from then on, also had to prove breach of duty/negligence on the part of the employer.
It is still possible to use health and safety legislation breaches as evidence to support a negligence claim. It’s just that breach of a statutory duty is no longer, of itself, enough to succeed in an accident at work claim.
It’s easy to think of accidents at work just happening in factories or other industrial settings. Perhaps this is because health and safety concerns weren’t always what they should have been concerning ‘heavy industry’ in previous years.
For instance, new cases of asbestos disease claims are started every day due to asbestos exposure from many years ago when employers so blatantly disregarded the safety of those working with asbestos. Thankfully, huge improvements have been made over the past 30 or more years.
However, accidents still happen in almost any workplace setting. Therefore, any list of types of workplace accidents is never going to be complete. Here are some of the more common types of accident at work claims:
- Building/construction site accident claims
- Factory accident claims
- Forklift Truck accident claims
- Office accident claims
- Warehouse accident claims
- Farming accident claims
- Defective work equipment claims
- Work accident at sea claims
- Oil rig accident claims
- Electric shock and electrocution claims
- Chemical accident claims
- Scaffolding accident claims
- Transport accident claims
- Machinery injury compensation
There are many ways that accidents happen in the workplace. Some types of accident cross over into several different workplace sectors, such as:
a) Slip, trip and fall accidents
These are the most common type of workplace accidents. These involve slipping on wet floors, tripping over cables left strewn across the floor, falling over on uneven floors, etc.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, which publishes annual reports on accidents at work in the previous year, slips, trip and fall accidents account for almost a third of all non-fatal workplace accidents.
Slips, trips and falls can happen in any sector of industry or profession.
b) Manual Handling
Manual handling injury claims are another common type of accident at work claim. At Mooneerams solicitors, we get asked to pursue accidents of this type on behalf of claimants who have suffered back injuries and muscle sprain injuries due to pushing, lifting or pulling heavy items.
A lack of adequate employee training can be a significant factor in manual handling accidents.
If workers get asked to lift items of weight that are too heavy for them to manage, they can suffer back injuries. Manual handling accidents frequently occur amongst hospital staff when they get asked to lift patients into and out of beds.
Any job that requires an employee to push, pull or lift heavy weights can be the cause of manual handling accidents.
c) Hit by moving object
In large workplaces such as factories and warehouses, it is not uncommon for work-related vehicles, such as forklift trucks, to drive around the aisles and walkways. A worker getting hit by one of these moving objects is a genuine possibility if all necessary precautions are not in place.
The HSE accident statistics report for the year 2019/2020 reveals that 11% of all employer reported accidents at work, which resulted in a non-fatal injury, were of the ‘struck by a moving object’ type. Being struck by a moving vehicle caused a fifth of all fatal accidents during the same period.
d) Hit by a falling object
Falling object accidents can happen in a variety of circumstances.
- Heavy box files falling from shelves in an office onto an unsuspecting worker could cause a nasty head, neck or shoulder injury.
- Brick or masonry falling from scaffolding is almost certainly going to cause severe injury or death if it were to land on someone on the ground below.
- Many of the falling objects from height accidents that occur are on constructions sites, e.g., tools, hard hats, walkie talkie radios, pieces of building masonry
- Warehouses are another workplace where the potential of severe injuries from falling boxes of stock of badly stacked racking is high.
e) Repetitive strain injuries
Repetitive strain injuries occur due to the repeated overuse of a particular area of the body. Common causes of RSI are:
- Badly designed work chairs
- A workstation that is not set up correctly for the person using it
- Any job which involves repetitive movements
Symptoms of RSI include:
- Aching or burning muscles, tendon and joint pain
- Throbbing sensation of the affected part of the body
- Tingling and numbness
- A weakness of hands or arms
f) Falls from height
Any fall from height at work is a serious matter.
For example, falls from height in the food and drinks industry alone were the third highest cause of fatal accidents in 2019/2020. They also resulted in 80 significant injuries to other employees in that industry. They led to 230 employees, each taking over three-days of absence from work due to injuries sustained at work. That is just in one sector alone.
Examples of falls from height are those from:
- Warehouse racking units
- Raised platforms
- Motor vehicles
g) Assaulted at work
Assaults by members of the public on workers who are simply doing their jobs have now become a sad fact of life. Nearly 2000 people got prosecuted for assaults on emergency workers during the first six months of the COVID-19 lockdown of March 2020.
It isn’t just emergency workers assaulted at work – it can be a work colleague assaulting a fellow work colleague; it can be a resident of a care home who attacks their carer or a pupil at school who attacks their teacher.
Together with considering a criminal injuries claim, there is the possibility of making an accident at work claim against your employer for an assault at work.
An assault at work claim would carry reasonable prospects of success if there were a failing on the part of your employer that puts him in breach of his duty of care to you. The possibility of assaults at work has become more predictable in several occupations, as we have referred to above.
To make a successful accident at work claim due to being assaulted at work is a need to demonstrate that your employer ought to have known that an assault at work was predictable. Perhaps there have been similar attacks at your workplace on people doing the same type of job as you.
If so, has your employer heeded the lessons of previous attacks by providing extra training, additional security or increased staffing levels to mitigate against the possibility of further attacks? If the employer has done nothing different to protect staff from being assaulted at work, they would have reasonable prospects of succeeding in an assault at work claim.
If you get injured in an accident at work, the onus is on your employer to record the accident details in the company’s accident book. A business with more than ten employees must keep an accident book and record any workplace accidents in it. Most companies of whatever size will usually have one anyway. The specific details to be registered are:
- The name of the person injured
- The name of the person who reported the accident
- Time, date and where the accident happened.
- Details of how the accident happened.
- Nature of the injuries sustained
However, whilst the requirement is for your employer to record the accident details, you need to bring the incident to their attention in the first place.
Whilst your initial concerns following an accident must always focus on the injuries that you have suffered and getting them attended to by a medic, it is incumbent on you to report the accident yourself at the first available opportunity (or to get someone else to do this).
Be aware that some companies have policies and procedures in place in the company staff handbook, making it compulsory for you to report the accident.
Keep a note of the person to whom you reported the accident and when. Check out who else might have seen the accident and keep a note of their names if anyone did.
Particular types of serious accidents at work have to be reported by law to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Make it known amongst your work colleagues that you have suffered an accident at work and do so as soon after the accident as you reasonably can. It is essential to do this if you were working on your own at the time of the accident. Telling your colleagues about the accident will help your case if your employers dispute the incident’s timing or even whether it happened at all!
As already mentioned, your immediate concern after being injured in a workplace accident should always be to get your injuries checked over by a medic. The first port of call will be the company’s designated first aider, which every company must have. by law
If you were seriously injured, someone should take you straight to A&E. A work colleague should accompany you, and if you are in a fit state to do so, you must insist that someone does.
If the injury is less severe, you should still err on the side of caution. After the first aider has treated you, make sure you follow up by visiting a doctor or A&E of your own volition. Do this for the sake of your health, first and foremost. Think about making a claim afterwards.
If, for instance, you received a blow to the head, e.g., as a result of banging your head on the floor following a slip, trip or fall accident, there is a distinct danger of getting a delayed concussion. To address this risk, go and see a doctor straight away.
If you are still suffering symptoms several weeks after the first consultation, see the doctor again.
Should you decide to claim for accident at work personal injury compensation, you will need to allow any medical experts instructed as part of the claim to have permission to view your medical records.
Your notes will show that you promptly reacted to any ongoing symptoms or problems you were having by getting treatment from your GP.
There many different ways in which accidents at work happen. Equally, the types of injury that people suffer in accidents at work are broad and varied.
If the accident victim is fortunate, they will escape with relatively minor injuries, such as sprains, minor cuts, or whiplash injuries. The less fortunate can suffer broken limbs, burns or lacerations. At their most severe level, workplace accidents cause serious injuries of a life-changing nature.
Sadly too, some workers lose their lives in accidents at work. In 2019/2020, there were 111 fatal accidents in UK accidents at work.
Here are some of the types of injuries suffered by workers in workplace accidents in the past year:
- Minor bumps, bruises and cuts.
- Sprained ankles and wrists – falls on the level and from heights are a common cause.
- Back injuries are prevalent. This type of accident can result from manual handling accidents, but they are also the consequence of many a slip, trip or fall accident.
- Whiplash injury is a common not only a common feature in road traffic accidents. People also suffer whiplash as a result of slips, trips and fall accidents at work.
- Head injuries resulting from work accidents range from minor concussion caused by a blow to the head after a slip, trip and fall accidents through severe traumatic brain injury caused by falling object accidents and falls from height.
- Broken bones/ fractured bones – a frequent workplace accident injury across many sectors – from office tripping accidents to crushing accidents on defective machinery to slips to being hit by a moving object.
- Burns and scars – these are common in chemical accidents or accidents involving the use of blowtorches or welding equipment. Scars and burns injuries are, unsurprisingly, a common consequence of accidents in professional kitchens.
- Amputation or severe limb damage – factory accidents and any setting where improperly guarded or otherwise defective machinery results in injury can lead to limbs getting so severely damaged, they require amputation.
- Hearing loss is associated with being required to work in constantly noisy environments without adequate PPE in the form of ear protectors.
- Industrial Diseases such as asbestos disease and industrial asthma are still getting diagnosed. They are the result of historical exposure to toxic substances in the workplace.
Whatever the type of injury, if you suffer an injury at work due to your employer’s negligence, it will be possible to make an injury at work claim in the expectation of it being successful.
The obvious answer to this would be ‘no’.
However, whilst you may believe that an accident at work may well have been your fault entirely, it’s not always the case that it was your fault.
Remember, your employer owes you a duty of care – that is, he must take all reasonable precaution to ensure your safety whilst you are at work.
For instance, if you have an accident whilst working alone on a machine and you get injured by moving parts whilst trying to repair it, you might think that’s entirely your fault. However, there are immediate questions that spring to mind in a situation like this:
- Have you received adequate training about what to do when a machine develops a fault?
- Has your employer failed to maintain the machinery adequately? Was it defective?
- Had you worked on this machine before, and were you used to work on it?
- Did the machine have a safety guard on it? Was it faulty?
- Was your employer in breach of any legislation, such as PUWER, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, HASAW?
Where the blame for an accident at work lies may not always be as apparent as it might initially seem to be.
It is always worth getting the views of an experienced accident at work personal injury solicitor if you receive an injury whilst at work. You’ll be able to run the circumstances of the incident past them to get an independent view on liability. Most specialist personal injury solicitors will be happy to provide you with complimentary advice about whether they believe that you have any reasonable prospects of making a successful personal injury claim against your employer.
Call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 if you would like some free initial advice on whether or not you might have a claim.
The moral of this section:
Don’t automatically assume that if you suffer an accident at work that it was your fault – either in whole or in part.
The law surrounding an employer’s liability to an employee can be complex and there are sometimes many factors to take into account when assessing who was liable for an accident at work.
That’s why seeking out sound legal advice from specialist and experienced accident at work solicitor is always the right thing to do, when you’ve been injured in a workplace accident. At Mooneerams solicitors we are expert employer’s liability solicitors and we only act for employees, never for employers. Call us on 029 2048 3615 for some initial advice now. It won’t cost you anything to find out whether we think you’ve got a claim! You can contact us online too
‘Partly at fault’ can be written in legal terms as ‘contributory negligence. The contributory negligence of a person who makes an accident at work claim (or indeed any other type of claim) can reduce the amount of compensation they receive, but that is all. It doesn’t mean the employer is not held liable for the accident.
Usually, contributory negligence cases involve the claimant knowingly taking a risk in the way that he carries out his work. Often used as an example of explaining how contributory negligence works in practice, in an accident at work claims, is the case of Eyres v Atkinsons Kitchens and Bedrooms Ltd.
In Eyres, the claimant, C, had been driving his employer, D’s van along a motorway. C was a kitchen fitter, and he and his colleagues worked long hours and were well remunerated accordingly.
On the day in question, C was driving back home from a job and had been awake continuously for around 19 hours when he lost control of his vehicle. He received severe injuries in the accident that followed.
C brought an accident at work claim against his employer (who was a passenger in the van at the time of the accident) for breach of duty of care. C had become tired and fallen asleep. When the claim went to court, the judge decided that C was partly to blame for the accident. However, D had put him into the unenviable position of having to drive when he must have realised that C was at serious risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
On appeal, D was found primarily (mainly) liable, with C’s contributory negligence assessed at 33 per cent. This percentage included a 25% reduction from C’s damages (compensation) for not wearing a seatbelt).
Summary of contributory negligence in accident at work cases
Once an employer has been held to be primarily at fault for an employee’s accident at work, it will generally take an act of ‘reckless disregard’ by an employee of his employer’s orders, before a court makes a finding of contributory negligence against the employee.
Suppose you are injured in an accident at work because of a colleague’s carelessness. In that case, you can still bring a claim for compensation against your employer. for your injuries and other losses such as loss of earnings.
The reason for this is because of a legal rule, or doctrine, called ‘vicarious liability, which means that an employer can be held responsible for one of their employees’ negligent action (or lack of action).
Example: if you are knocked down in the factory where you work, by a forklift truck which is being driven by another of the company’s employees, and was caused by the driver failing to keep a proper lookout, you can bring an accident claim against your employer, in the reasonable expectation that, subject to the strength of your evidence, your claim would be successful.
This claim would be based on the doctrine of vicarious liability, with the employer being liable for the injury and loss caused to you as a result of the negligence of your co-worker.
The fear of this happening is sometimes enough to prevent people from pursuing an accident at work injury claim against their employers.
As experienced accident at work accident claim solicitors, we at Mooneerams have every sympathy with would-be clients who are reluctant to make an employer’s liability claim for this reason.
Some bosses don’t take it well if one of their workers sues them for personal injury compensation sustained in a workplace accident. Most wouldn’t contemplate taking retaliatory action in the form of getting rid of an employee. Some may do.
If that were to happen, any employee treated in this way would have a solid case under Employment Law for taking the employer to an employment tribunal by starting an unfair dismissal claim.
Sometimes an aggrieved employer faced with an employer’s liability claim from an injured employee will fall short of sacking the employee. Instead, they will resort to trying to make the employee’s life a misery during working hours.
Should this happen to you, you must realise why the employer is doing this and keep a detailed diary of events. Should the situation become unbearable and provided you have been working for the employer for at least two years continuously, you may have a claim for constructive dismissal if it all gets too much for you and you decide to leave the company.
Important – walking out of a job and claiming for constructive dismissal is a big step and should not be taken lightly. Certainly, you should seek advice from a specialist Employment Law solicitor. Although Mooneerams do not take on employment law tribunal cases, (it’s not our specialist area of work), we do work closely with other solicitors who are experienced in employment law. We will be more than pleased to put you in contact with them. Call us here at Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 and we’ll arrange this for you.
If you were injured in an accident but left the employer responsible for the accident before starting an accident at work claim, are you then prevented from starting a claim after you’ve gone?
There is nothing to stop you from starting a claim against your former employer once you have left the company. It will help if you take the recommended steps following the accident.
To recap, we advised that following an accident, you should:
- Report the accident to your employers when it happens and follow any procedures laid out in the company handbook.
- Seek appropriate medical attention immediately after the accident and follow it up with further consultations with your GP or other medical advisers as required.
- Get the details of any witnesses to the accident.
Sometimes employees feel more comfortable starting an accident at work claim once they no longer have to work at the company.
You’ve suffered an injury in an accident at work, and you are either sure it was the fault or your employer, or you think it may have been the fault of your employer. How do you go about making a claim?
The first thing to do is to sit down and take stock. Have you:
- Made sure that you’ve reported the accident by following any company guidelines or rules?
- Got details of any witnesses to the accident, witnesses who saw you report the accident to your line manager of superior?
- Written down dates of visits to A&E, your GP or other medical advisors you may have seen after the accident?
- Taken photos of the scene of the accident?
- Checked the position regarding being paid by your employer whilst off work or found out how you go about getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)? This information should be in the company handbook. Alternatively, your HR department or manager will be able to advise you.
If you haven’t covered all of these points, take action to do so now.
Having checked everything off the list, let’s look into starting an accident at work claim.
We’d strongly advise you to ask an experienced accident at work solicitor to take on your claim and pursue it on your behalf.
Employer’s liability claims are not always straightforward matters, and an expert workplace accident lawyer will take so much weight and stress off your shoulders.
You can usually get representation from an accident at work solicitor under a No Win No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). With the benefit of a CFA. If your claim does not succeed, you’ll have nothing to pay either to your solicitor or to your employer’s solicitor.
If you do win your accident claim, you will pay your solicitor an amount of up to a pre-agreed maximum percentage of the compensation you recover from your employer’s insurers. This percentage cannot be any more than a maximum of 25% of your compensation.
You are not under any obligation to use a solicitor. However, accident at work claims cover a wide range of accidents. Some are relatively minor – perhaps a cut finger or bumps and bruising to knees following a trip, slip or fall accident.
Other types of accident at work leave the injured worker with catastrophic injuries that will change their lives forever. Many accidents fall some way between the two extreme different severities we’ve mentioned.
Whatever type of accident at work claim you have suffered and however severe your injuries are, we are pretty clear in our advice. Don’t try and take on the claim yourself. Your compensation claim is a one-off event. You want to ensure that you recover the maximum compensation possible. Just ask yourself honestly:
- Do you know how to work out what your claim is worth?
- Do you know how to present your claim to your employer’s insurer?
- Do you understand the procedure that is involved in pursuing an employers’ liability claim?
Your honest answer to these questions will probably be that you don’t. Why should you know?
Some people try to pursue their own compensation claims on the basis that they want to save on paying fees to a solicitor, even the success fee (the deduction from your compensation of an amount up to 25%) in No Win, No Fee arrangements.
Our advice is that It is rarely worth the risk. Without legal training and the experience of having dealt with many accidents at work claims previously, you are highly likely to come unstuck. You only get one shot at recovering compensation, and if your claim comes unstuck through trying to do it yourself, there’s no comeback for you.
Here’s what we would advise:
- Find an experienced accident at work solicitor to deal with your claim. Ideally, you want a solicitor to act for you, who specialises in personal injury claims and has a history of pursuing hundreds of workplace accident claims for claimants. Check out the service that we at Mooneerams can offer you if you need the services of an accident at work compensation solicitor here.
- Most experienced accident at work solicitors will provide you with a free assessment of whether they believe you have reasonable prospects of pursuing a successful accident at work claim. We at Mooneerams certainly do that. Call us on 029 2048 3615 if you’d like to talk to us about a possible accident at work claim.
Don’t be tempted to use a claims management company to act for you. They are, in effect, marketing companies. They’ll take your claim details and pass them on to a firm of solicitors on their ‘panel’, chosen because they pay a recommendation fee to the claims company for your claim, not necessarily because they have expertise in accident at work claims. We’d strongly advise you to avoid claims companies.
You have a limited amount of time to start an accident at work claim. The time limits are strict.
In the case of an adult, the time limit for bringing an accident at work personal injury claim is three years from the accident date.
The time limit is known as the limitation period. It is so-called because the rules about time limits for bringing different types of claims are in the act of parliament called The Limitation Act 1980
The limitation period for children starts when they reach their 18th birthday and runs out on their 21st birthday. By the very nature of accident at work claims, the particular rules relating to children will be of a limited effect, but as children can be employed once they have reached 14 years of age, it still has some relevance.
A claim can be brought on behalf of a child by their parents or guardians. Alternatively, the child may start a claim when they reach 18 years of age.
The rules on limitation for starting asbestos claims are different. We classify asbestos claims as Industrial Disease claims rather than accident at work claims but if you are interested in finding out more about the limitation period for asbestos claims, we recommend you visit our dedicated page the Asbestos claim Q&A Guide’ on our website, where you will find more details.
Many people start an accident at work claim because they realise that they will suffer a loss of earnings due to an accident at work that was their employer’s fault. It doesn’t seem fair to them. They then realise that they can claim for the injuries they’ve suffered too.
The fact is that unless your contract of employment says otherwise, there is nothing to force your employer to pay you whilst you are on sick leave from work. You may be entitled to statutory sick pay, but in most cases, that still leaves most injured workers suffering lost earnings. If your sick leave goes on for any length of time, that can mean you may have a considerable amount of loss of earnings. (See our blog Do you get paid if you’ve had an accident at work? )
Your accident at work claim will be for two types of damages (compensation).
a) Pain suffering and loss of amenity
This element of damages includes the claim for your injuries. It is known as damages for PSLA – pain suffering and loss of amenity. The ‘loss and amenity’ part of this is to compensate you for the widespread impact the injuries have had on your lifestyle.
b) Handicap on the open labour market
If the injuries you received in the accident are likely to affect getting another job, should you find yourself looking for a new job in the future, you will be able to claim compensation for general damages for this.
c) Future loss of earnings
You can claim future earnings loss when you commence court proceedings if you have not returned to work at that stage.
d) Loss of congenial employment
These are damages to compensate a claimant who, as a result of their injuries, cannot go back to doing the type of work they did at the time of the accident.
These are losses that are capable of being mathematically calculated. Loss of earnings is special damages. Other items of special damage can include:
- Cost of replacing clothing or personal items damaged in the accident
- Prescription costs
- Private medical bills
- Care costs
- Costs of doing DIY, gardening, cleaning, laundry, ironing and other household chores that the claimant’s ongoing injuries prevent them from doing
- Adaptations to the home
- Replacement transport if the claimant’s injuries/disabilities make this a necessity
- Specialist aids
- Rehabilitation costs
Point to note – the example list of special damages that we have outlined, serves to bring home to us, that accidents at work do cause catastrophic injuries in far too many cases.
When special damages claims include the cost of paying someone to do the type of work around the home that we take for granted doing for ourselves, or the cost of having homes adapted or new ones bought to take account of a disability that the claimant now has as a result of an accident at work, it highlights the reason why accident at work claims are serious matters. It also emphasises why there is a need for claimants or their families to seek out the services of specialist accident at work solicitors to act on their behalf.
How long does an accident at work claim take (to settle or go to court)? In other words, how long will it take to get compensation?
The answer is that it is impossible to say at the outset. It depends on the type and severity of the injury that you have suffered in the accident. A serious injury can take a long time to recover from and for the medical experts to assess. In some cases, a workplace accident victim may never fully recover from their injuries and require lifelong care and medical intervention.
Here in very brief detail, are some of the things that will decide how quickly or slowly your claim will progress.
- The process of staring the claims process
- How long it takes to obtain the initial medical report on your injuries
- Whether liability is in dispute or not
- Calculating all the items of the claim and getting evidence of them put together.
- The need to wait, assess how your medical condition progresses and obtain further medical reports, as needed.
- Obtaining other specialist expert evidence.
- Going to court – waiting for court dates if the matter doesn’t settle without the need for a court hearing.
- How pro-active your accident at work solicitor is.
Heres’ what 2 of our specialist accidents at work solicitors have to say about the length of time the average accident at work claim takes to conclude.
Natalie Green – Solicitor
“I would normally say that it’s quite difficult to give clients a timescale but that I can give them a better idea once I’ve established the liability position in around 3 months and/or when we’re in receipt of their medical report.”
Andrew Last – Solicitor
“I would say on average accident at work claims take around 18 months to conclude and to get our clients their compensation. In working out that average though, it leaves out those accident at work claims that involve catastrophic injuries to our clients. The very nature of serious injury claims means that they involve numerous medical reports being obtained as well as reports from a variety of other types of expert witnesses. Consequently these types of cases can take quite a number of years to conclude as they are extremely complex.”
Anyone who ever makes a personal injury claim would like to know at the start of it how much compensation they are likely to get. It’s not a case of being greedy. In some workplace accident cases, it is evident from the outset that the injuries that an injured worker has sustained are so severe that they will be life-changing. Fears of financial insecurity can quickly creep in, and you want some reassurance as to how much money you might get and when.
With other less severe but still painful accident at work injuries, it is still natural that you want some idea of how much you will be receiving by way of compensation at the end of the claim.
We don’t think it’s right to say to a client who has just suffered an accident and has come to us for help that we believe their claim will be worth £XYZ. Making a personal injury claim is a serious matter. Section 17 of this guide outlined the types of damages you can claim for an accident at work. To recap, these are:
- General Damages – Pain suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA): this is compensation for the injury you suffered and the effect it has had on your life.
- Special damages – financial losses that can be mathematically calculated, such as loss of earnings.
The Mooneerams way of advising you what your claim is worth
We will be happy give you an idea as to what your claim is likely to be worth in terms of compensation once we have:
- Gathered together full details of your claim
- Obtained the necessary medical evidence to support your claim
- calculated your claim for special damages
- Ascertained whether your claim is likely to settle on a full liability basis or whether there may be some element of contributory negligence on your part.
The other important point to note, is that our opinion on the value of your personal injury claim may change, if it turns out that your injuries are proving to be more serious or are likely to have a longer lasting effect, than was originally thought would be the case.
Some people won’t claim against their employer after an accident at work because they think that their boss will have to pay the compensation out of their pocket. They don’t.
By law, as soon as a business takes on employees, it must get Employer’s Liability(EL) insurance. The insurance cover has to be for at least £5 million, and it must be from an authorised insurer.
The reason for this is on the Gov.UK website, as follows:
“EL insurance will help you (employer) pay compensation if an employee is injured or becomes ill because of the work they do for you.”
Employers can be fined £2500 for every day they are not adequately insured.
If you are successful in making a personal injury compensation claim against your employer following an accident at work, the insurers will pay the compensation, not your employers.
Most of the accident at work claims that we deal with at Mooneerams are taken on, on a No Win, No Fee basis.
The attraction of No Win, No Fee claims is that you have no fees to pay upfront and if you lose, you have no costs to pay at all.
That’s not to say we expect you to lose your claim! If we’ve offered you the benefit of a No Win, No Fee agreement, we’ve done so after discussing the circumstances with you and decided that we think you have reasonable prospects of success! However, from your point of view, it gives you an extra layer of reassurance to know if anything were to go wrong, you won’t be out of pocket.
The proper term for a No Win No Fee agreement is ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’, or CFA for short. Before you enter into this type of agreement with us here at Mooneerams Solicitors, one of our accident at work lawyers will thoroughly explain the terms of the agreement to you. You can find out much more about CFA’s or No Win No Fee arrangements by checking our No Win, No Fee Advice Guide.
Mooneerams No Win, No Fee service in a nutshell
- If you lose your claim, you’ll have nothing to pay
- When you win your claim, you’ll pay a contribution towards our legal fees that will be capped at no more than 25% of the compensation we recover for you
You are entirely free to choose any solicitor you want to handle your accident at work claim. Here are a few reasons why we think you should select Mooneerams solicitors!
- We’ve been around a while. Mooneerams first opened its doors in 2002 and has grown from strength to strength ever since.
- We only handle personal injury claims – we don’t do any other type of legal work.
- We are specialist claimant personal injury solicitors. We have been since we first opened our doors to the public. That means that we don’t act for employers, insurance companies or anyone, other than claimants.
- We are experts in dealing with accident at work claims for claimants. We’ve helped hundreds of people to claim millions of pounds worth of compensation from injured at work claims since Mooneerams opened in 2002.
- We are a niche boutique company based in Cardiff but with bases all over South Wales.
- We look after our clients well. You can check out our 5*reviews on info, Trustpilot, Facebook and Google, to see what our clients say about us.
We’d always recommend having a preliminary chat with any solicitor that you are thinking of asking to handle an accident at work claim (or indeed any claim) for you. Get a feel for the firm by talking to them. Ask them every question that’s on your mind about how they will handle your claim. We encourage potential clients to do that.
Call us here at Mooneerams. You’ll find our team of accident at work accident lawyers reassuringly friendly, professional in their manner and knowledgeable in the field of accident at work compensation claims.
Call us now on 029 2048 3615 for a confidential, informal and free chat about the circumstances of your claim.
There’s no obligation to take the matter further with us after your call. We’d be delighted if you did, though!
Sometimes, you ask a solicitor to act for you in an accident at work claim, but things don’t work out. We have spoken with people for whom that has happened, and they feel trapped because they don’t realise that they are entitled to switch solicitors when things go wrong.
There are a whole host of reasons why your relationship with your personal injury solicitor might break down partway through a claim.
- Your claim is progressing too slowly
- Your solicitor is unresponsive – you never seem to be able to contact them, or they respond to your emails and calls too slowly or not at all.
- You come to feel that they are not up to the job at hand.
- Your claim keeps being passed from solicitor to solicitor or, more likely, in some companies, from inexperienced clerk to inexperienced clerk.
- You are completely unhappy with the service provided – for multiple reasons.
- You have realised that you are not getting good advice.
- You are losing trust in your accident at work solicitor.
Can you change, partway through the accident at work claim, without it causing major problems?
Yes, you can. The main worry that most people have when considering whether to switch solicitors is about legal costs.
Will the solicitor I want to take my claim away from now say that I have to pay his or her legal costs if I change solicitor?
This is rarely a problem. If you decide to change your accident at work solicitor, call us at Mooneerams first. If you decide you would like us to take on your personal injury at work claim, we’ll liaise with your current solicitor. In most instances, the other solicitors will agree to transfer your file of papers over to us on condition that we get their legal fees back from the employer’s insurance company, as well as our own, at the end of the claim.
Your accident at work claim is important. Please don’t feel that you have to stay with your current injury solicitor when you aren’t happy with them. Contact us at Mooneerams, and we’ll explain how we can help you.
We hope that you’ve found ‘Accidents at Work: The Complete Guide to Claiming Compensation’ both informative and interesting. Talk to us now on 029 2048 3615 to speak to one of our accident at work solicitors today.
Alistair Worth, Managing Director, Mooneerams Solicitors
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