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Accidents at Work Legal Guide

Written by Carl Waring

Personal injury Q&A Centre
Personal injury Q&A Centre

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.

Can I make a workplace accident claim if I’ve left the company?2023-08-29T09:30:16+01:00

If you were injured in an accident at work but left the company before starting an accident at work claim, are you prevented from starting a claim after you’ve gone?

Nothing can 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:

  1. Report the accident to your employers when it happens and follow any procedures laid out in the company handbook.
  2. Seek appropriate medical attention immediately after the accident and follow it up with further consultations with your GP or other medical advisers as required.
  3. 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.

Can you change solicitor partway through an accident at work claim without your claim being adversely affected?2023-08-29T09:41:51+01:00

Changing solicitors need not affect your claim negatively; far from it. Changing solicitors to a niche personal injury firm like Mooneerams should bring fresh impetus to your claim, and you will feel more comfortable.

Legal costs are most people’s main worry when considering whether to switch solicitors, and you may be wondering:

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 to switch solicitors to Mooneerams, we’ll contact your current firm and arrange for them to transfer your file. In most instances, the other solicitors will agree to transfer your file of papers to us, provided we recover their legal fees from the other side once your claim is won!

Your accident at work claim is important. You are not obliged to stay with your current injury solicitor when you aren’t happy with them. Contact Mooneerams to learn how we can help you.

Talk to us now at 029 2048 3615 to speak to one of our accident at work solicitors today.

Can I switch solicitors to Mooneerams?2023-08-29T09:39:14+01:00

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 happened, and they feel trapped because they don’t realise they are entitled to switch solicitors when things go wrong.

There are many reasons why your relationship with your personal injury solicitor might break down partway through a claim.

  1. Your claim is progressing too slowly.
  2. 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.
  3. Responses you receive from your solicitor make you question if he is competent.
  4. Your claim keeps being passed from solicitor to solicitor or, more likely, in some companies, from inexperienced clerk to inexperienced clerk.
  5. You are completely unhappy with the service provided – for multiple reasons.
  6. You have realised that you are not getting good advice.
  7. You are losing trust in your accident at work solicitor.
Why should I use Mooneerams for my accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:38:31+01:00

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!

  1. Mooneerams has existed for 21 years and continues to go from strength to strength.
  2. We only handle personal injury claims – we don’t do any other legal work.
  3. We are specialist claimant personal injury solicitors. We don’t act for employers, insurance companies or anyone other than claimants.
  4. We are experts in dealing with accident at work claims. We’ve helped thousands of people to claim millions of pounds worth of compensation from workplace injury claims since Mooneerams opened in 2002.
  5. We are a niche boutique Cardiff personal injury solicitors firm with office facilities all over South Wales and England, including an office in London.
  6. We look after our clients. Check out our 5*reviews on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google to see what our clients say about us.

We recommend speaking with any solicitor you are considering asking to handle your accident at work claim. Get a feel for the firm. Ask every question and try to judge how they will handle your claim.

Call us here at Mooneerams. You’ll find our team of accident at work lawyers reassuringly friendly, professional in their manner and knowledgeable in their field: 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 after your call. We’d be delighted if you did, though!

Can I make a No Win, No Fee accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:37:50+01:00

Most of the accident at work claims we deal with at Mooneerams are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis.

The attraction of No Win, No Fee claims is that you have no fees to pay upfront; if you lose, you pay no legal fees.

When we take on a claim, we expect to win it. 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, a No Win No Fee agreement gives you an extra layer of reassurance to know if anything were to go wrong, you won’t be out of pocket.

The correct 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 Mooneerams Solicitors, one of our accident at work lawyers will thoroughly explain the terms of the agreement to you. You can learn 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
Who will pay my accident at work compensation?2023-08-29T09:37:08+01:00

Some people won’t claim after an accident because they think their employer must pay the compensation themselves. In most cases, the employer will not have to pay the compensation.

By law, as soon as a business takes on employees, it must get Employer’s Liability(EL) insurance. The insurance cover must be for at least £5 million and from an authorised insurer.

The reasoning behind this requirement for insurance is set out on the Gov.UK website as follows:

“Employers Liability 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 every day they are not adequately insured.

If you successfully claim personal injury compensation against your employer following an accident at work, the insurers will pay the compensation, not your employer.

How much compensation will I get for my accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:36:31+01:00

Anyone who ever makes a personal injury claim would like to know how much compensation they are likely to get at the start of it. In some workplace accident cases, it is evident from the outset that the injuries 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 reassurance about how much money you might get and when.

With other less severe but still painful accidents at work injuries, it is still natural that you want some idea of how much you will receive 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 outlines the types of damages you can claim for an accident at work. To recap, these are:

  1. General Damages – Pain suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA): compensation for the injury you suffered and its effect on your life.
  2. 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 to give you an idea as to what your claim is likely to be worth in compensation once we have:

  • Documented the 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 if there may be some 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 severe or are likely to have a longer-lasting effect than was initially thought would be the case.

How long do accident at work claims take?2023-08-29T09:35:47+01:00

How long does an accident at work claim usually 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 you suffered in the accident. A serious injury can take a long time to recover from and for the medical experts to assess. Sometimes, workplace accident victims may never fully recover from their injuries and require lifelong care and medical intervention.

In very brief detail, below we outline some things that will decide how quickly or slowly your claim will progress:

  1. The process of starting the claims process
  2. How long it takes to obtain the initial medical report on your injuries
  3. Whether liability is in dispute or not
  4. Calculating all the items of the claim and getting evidence of them.
  5. The need to wait, assess how your medical condition progresses and obtain further medical reports, as needed.
  6. Obtaining other specialist expert evidence.
  7. Going to court – waiting for court dates if the matter doesn’t settle without needing a court hearing.
  8. How proactive your accident at work solicitor is.

Here’s 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 three 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.”

What can I claim for in an accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:34:31+01:00

Many people start an accident at work claim because they realise that they will suffer a loss of earnings because of an accident at work that was their employer’s fault. They then realise that they can claim for their injuries, 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 continues for any length of time, 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 forms of damages (compensation).

General damages

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 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, you can 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 return to doing the type of work they did at the time of the accident.

Special damages

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 shows us that accidents at work 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 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 a specialist accident at work solicitor to act on their behalf.

How long do I have to make an accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:32:27+01:00

You have limited 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.

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 learning 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.

Do I need a solicitor to make an accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:31:41+01:00

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 accidents at work leave the injured worker with catastrophic injuries that will change their lives forever. Many accidents fall between the two highly 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 hopefully 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 involved in pursuing an employer’s liability claim?

Your honest answer to these questions will probably be that you don’t.

Some people try to pursue their own compensation claims because they want to save on paying fees to a solicitor, even the success fee (the deduction from your compensation of 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:

  1. Find an experienced accident at work solicitor to deal with your claim. Ideally, you want a solicitor 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.
  2. Most experienced accident at work solicitors will provide 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.

How do I make an accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:31:00+01:00

If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident at work, and you are either sure it was your employer’s fault or you think it may have been your employer’s fault, how do you make a a claim?

The first thing to do is take stock of the situation. Have you:

  1. Ensured you’ve reported the accident by following company guidelines or rules?
  2. Got hold of details of any witnesses to the accident; witnesses who saw you report the accident to your line manager or superior?
  3. Noted dates of visits to A&E, your GP or other medical advisors you may have seen after the accident?
  4. Have you taken photos of the scene of the accident?
  5. Checked the position regarding being paid by your employer whilst off work or how you get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This information should be in the company handbook. Alternatively, your HR department or manager will be able to advise you.

Having checked everything off the list, let’s look into starting an accident at work claim.

Firstly, 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 straightforward matters, and an expert workplace accident lawyer will take 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 your solicitor or your employer’s solicitor.

If you 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 more than 25% of your compensation.

What is an accident at work?2023-08-29T09:20:03+01:00

An accident at work is when you, as a worker, are the victim of an unintended incident that 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 while working
  • A forklift truck in the factory/supermarket/ warehouse where you work knocks you down

RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) define accidents 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.
Can I be fired for making an accident at work claim?2023-08-29T09:29:32+01:00

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 claims 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, though most wouldn’t take retaliatory action by getting rid of an employee. However, some may be so angry that they will fire the employee.

If that were to happen, any employee treated 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 try 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. If the situation becomes 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 and you decide to leave the company.

Important – walking out of a job and claiming constructive dismissal is a big step and should not be taken lightly. Indeed, you should seek advice from a specialist Employment Law solicitor.

At Mooneerams, we do not handle employment law tribunal cases, but we work closely with other solicitors experienced in employment law. We will be more than pleased to put you in contact with them. To speak with an employment solicitor, call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615, and we’ll arrange this for you.

Can I claim for an accident at work caused by a work colleague?2023-08-29T09:28:53+01:00

Suppose you are injured in an accident at work because of a colleague’s carelessness. In that case, you can still claim compensation against your employer for your injuries and other losses, such as loss of earnings.

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 actions (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.

What if the workplace accident was partly my fault?2023-08-29T09:28:11+01:00

In legal terms, we refer to being partly at fault for an accident as ‘contributory negligence’. A person who makes an accident at work claim (or any other type of claim) may have contributed to their accident because of contributory negligence. If so, it will reduce their compensation, but that is all. For contributory negligence, someone else must also have been negligent and that someone is the employer.

Usually, contributory negligence cases involve the claimant knowingly taking a risk in how he does his work. The case of Eyres v Atkinsons Kitchens and Bedrooms Ltd is often used as an example of explaining how contributory negligence works in practice, in an accident at work claim,

In Eyres, the claimant, C, had been driving his employer, D’s van, along a motorway. C was a kitchen fitter; he and his colleagues worked long hours and were well-remunerated.

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 (a passenger in the van at the time of the accident) for breach of duty of care. C had fallen asleep because he was tired, which was the cause of the accident.

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 found mainly 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 finds contributory negligence against the employee.

Can I make an accident at work claim if it was no one else’s fault?2023-08-29T09:27:33+01:00

You couldn’t make a claim if the accident isn’t anyone else’s fault.

However, whilst you may believe that an accident at work may have been your fault, 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 precautions to ensure your safety while at work.

For instance, if you have an accident while working alone on a machine and are injured by moving parts while 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:

  1. Have you received adequate training about what to do when a machine develops a fault?
  2. Has your employer failed to maintain the machinery adequately? Was it defective?
  3. Have you worked on this machine before, and were you used to working on it?
  4. Did the machine have a safety guard on, and if so, was it faulty?
  5. Was your employer in breach of any legislation, such as PUWER, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, or HASAW?

Who is to blame for an accident at work may not always be as apparent as it might initially seem.

It is always worth getting the views of an experienced accident at work solicitor if you are injured at work. You can run the circumstances of the incident past them to get an independent idea of 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, it was your fault – either in whole or in part.

The law surrounding an employer’s liability to an employee can be complex. There are sometimes many factors to consider when assessing who was liable for an accident at work.

That’s why seeking sound legal advice from a 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 only act for employees, never for employers.

Call us on 029 2048 3615 for some initial advice. It won’t cost you anything to discover whether we think you’ve got a claim! You can contact us online, too.

What types of injury are most common in accident at work claims?2023-08-29T09:26:39+01:00

There are many different ways in which accidents at work happen. Equally, the types of injury people suffer in work accidents vary.

If the accident victim is fortunate, they will escape with minor injuries, such as sprains, minor cuts, or whiplash injuries. The less fortunate can suffer broken limbs, burns or lacerations. Workplace accidents, at their most severe level, cause serious injuries of a life-changing nature.

Sadly, too, some workers lose their lives in accidents at work. In 2022/2023, there were 135 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:

  1. Minor bumps, bruises and cuts.
  2. Sprained ankles and wrists are often caused by falls on the level and from heights.
  3. 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.
  4. Whiplash injury is not only a common feature in road traffic accidents. People also suffer whiplash because of slips, trips and fall accidents at work.
  5. Head injuries resulting from work accidents range from minor concussions caused by a blow to the head after a slip, trip and fall accident to severe traumatic brain injury caused by falling object accidents and falls from height.
  6. Broken bones/ fractured bones – a frequent workplace injury across many sectors – from office tripping accidents to crushing accidents on defective machinery to slips to being hit by a moving object.
  7. Burns and scars – These are common in chemical accidents or accidents involving blowtorches or welding equipment. Unsurprisingly, scars and burn injuries are a common consequence of accidents in professional kitchens.
  8. 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.
  9. Hearing loss is associated with working in constantly noisy environments without adequate PPE, usually ear protectors.
  10. Industrial Diseases such as asbestos disease and industrial asthma are still being 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 because of your employer’s negligence, it will be possible to make an injury at work claim in the expectation of it being successful.

Should I see a doctor straight after my accident?2023-08-29T09:25:55+01:00

As mentioned, your immediate concern after being injured in a workplace accident should always be to get your injuries checked by a medic. The first port of call will be the company’s designated first aider, which, by law, every company must have.

If you were seriously injured, someone should take you straight to A&E. A work colleague should accompany you; if you are fit to do so, you must insist that someone does.

If the injury is less severe, you should still act cautiously. After the first aider has treated you, follow up by visiting a doctor or A&E . You should do this for health reasons first and consider making a claim afterwards.

If, for instance, you received a blow to the head, e.g., from banging your head on the floor following a slip, trip or fall accident, there is a distinct danger of getting a delayed concussion. To ensure you haven’t suffered a concussion, see a doctor immediately.

See the doctor again if you still suffer symptoms several weeks after the first consultation.

Should you claim personal injury compensation after an accident at work, you must 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 by getting treatment from your GP.

What should I do if no-one saw my workplace accident?2023-08-29T09:25:20+01:00

Make it known to 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 alone when the accident happened. Telling your colleagues about the accident will help your case if your employer disputes the incident’s timing or even whether it happened at all!

Do I need to report an accident at work?2023-08-29T09:24:43+01:00

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 over ten employees must keep an accident book and record workplace accidents. Most companies of whatever size usually maintain an accident book, even if they are not required to by law.

The specific details to be recorded are:

  1. The name of the person injured
  2. The name of the person who reported the accident
  3. Time, date and where the accident happened.
  4. Details of how the accident happened
  5. 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 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 reporting the accident compulsory.

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.

Certain types of serious accidents at work must, by law, be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

What are the different types of accident at work?2023-08-29T09:23:41+01:00

It’s easy to think of accidents at work just happening in factories or other industrial settings. Perhaps this is because health and safety regulations weren’t always what they should have been concerning ‘heavy industry’ in previous years.

For instance, new asbestos disease claims are started every day because of asbestos exposure from many years ago when employers 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 will never be complete. Here are some of the more common types of accident at work claims:

  1. Building/construction site accident claims
  2. Factory accident claims
  3. Forklift Truck accident claims
  4. Office accident claims
  5. Warehouse accident claims
  6. Farming accident claims
  7. Defective work equipment claims
  8. Work accident at sea claims
  9. Oil rig accident claims
  10. Electric shock and electrocution claims
  11. Chemical accident claims
  12. Scaffolding accident claims
  13. Transport accident claims
  14. Machinery injury compensation

There are many ways that accidents happen in the workplace. Some types of accidents cross over into several different workplace sectors, such as:

a)    Slip, trip and fall accidents

These are the most common types of workplace accidents. They involve slipping on wet floors, tripping over cables left strewn across the floor, falling over uneven floors, etc.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, which publishes annual reports on accidents at work in the previous year, slips, trips 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 is another common type of accident at work claim. At Mooneerams Solicitors, we get asked to pursue accidents of this type on behalf of workers who have suffered back injuries and muscle sprain injuries because they’ve been asked to push, lift or pull heavy items.

A lack of adequate employee training is a significant factor in causing manual handling accidents.

If workers get asked to lift weights that are too heavy to manage, they can suffer back injuries. Manual handling accidents are an occupational hazard for hospital staff when asked to lift patients into and out of beds.

c)    Hit by a moving object

In large workplaces such as factories and warehouses, it is typical for work-related vehicles, such as forklift trucks, to drive around the aisles and walkways. A worker may get hit by one of these vehicles if all necessary precautions are not in place (and adhered to).

The HSE accident statistic report for 2022 revealed that 11% of all non-fatal injury accidents at work (reported by employers) resulted from being struck by a moving object. A fifth of all fatal accidents during the same period were caused by being hit by a moving vehicle.

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 will almost certainly cause severe injury or death if it lands on someone on the ground below.
  • Many falling objects from height accidents occur on construction sites, e.g., tools, hard hats, walkie-talkie radios, and 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 from the repeated overuse of a particular body part. Common causes of RSI are:

  • Badly designed work chairs
  • A workstation that is not set up correctly for the person using it
  • Any job that involves repetitive movements

Symptoms of RSI include:

  • Aching or burning muscles; tendon and joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • A throbbing sensation in the affected part of the body
  • Tingling and numbness
  • A weakness of the hands or arms
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps

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 are one of the highest causes of fatal workplace accidents, and that is just in one sector alone.

Examples of falls from height involve falling from:

  • Ladders
  • Roofs
  • Warehouse racking units
  • Scaffolding
  • Stairs
  • Machinery
  • 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 2,000 people were prosecuted for assaults on emergency workers during the first six months of the COVID-19 lockdown.

It isn’t just emergency workers assaulted at work – it can be a work colleague assaulting a fellow work colleague, a care home resident who attacks their carer, or a pupil at school who attacks their teacher.

You could consider making a criminal injury claim if you are assaulted at work. There is also the possibility of claiming for an accident at work against your employer if you are assaulted in the workplace.

An assault at work claim would carry reasonable prospects of success if there was a failure 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 mentioned above.

To make a successful accident at work claim after an assault at work, you must 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 and security or increased staffing levels to mitigate against the possibility of further attacks? If the employer has done nothing new to protect staff from being assaulted at work, you would have reasonable prospects of succeeding in an assault at work claim.

When would my employer be liable to me for an accident at work?2023-08-29T09:22:07+01:00

Every employer owes his employees a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to protect their health and safety while at their workplace and doing the job they get paid to do. In practice, this translates to a requirement to provide employees with:

  1. A safe system of work,
  2. Safe premises that are maintained to a reasonable standard
  3. Suitable machinery, tools, plant and equipment.

You could also add that it is a requirement for 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 because of his negligence. In that case, the employer will breach 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 that happened before 1 October 2013

Before 1 October 2013, it was possible to bring a civil claim against an employer for personal injury arising from 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 many other work-related acts of parliament.

Relying on statutory liability was another way an injured worker could make a workplace accident claim. Relying on a breach of statutory duty meant that you didn’t have to prove the employer had also been negligent.

The Enterprise Act

In 2013, the government introduced the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (E&RRA 2013). This amended HASAW 1974 so that after 1 October 2013, it was no longer possible to claim that if an employer had breached the rules of an Act of Parliament, he was automatically at fault for a work-related claim. From 1 October onwards, the claimant also had to prove a breach of duty/negligence on the employer’s part.

Using health and safety legislation breaches as evidence to support a negligence claim is still possible. It’s just that breach of a statutory duty alone is no longer enough to succeed in an accident at work claim.

We hope you’ve found ‘Accidents at Work: The Complete Guide to Claiming Compensation’ informative and interesting. Talk to us now at 029 2048 3615 to speak to one of our accident at work solicitors today.

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