Injury at Work
If you are injured at work and it was not your fault then you may be entitled to compensation. Accidents at work can have a serious impact, not just on the employee but also their family. Employers have a legal duty of care to their employees (as well as visitors and contractors) which means that employers are responsible for health and safety in the workplace. This means they should undertake regular risk assessments and pay sick pay to any employee who is entitled to it.
Employers are responsible for all aspects of the working environment including heating and ventilating the premises, lighting, providing safety equipment such as gloves and goggles as well as training staff appropriately. If they have neglected any of these responsibilities and this results in injury to an employee then the employer is liable.
What type of injury is covered?
Whilst every possible type of accident cannot be listed or contemplated, what is clear is that accidents can occur at anytime during the course of employment. A work place injury can be caused by anything from coming into contact with dangerous materials and substances (such as asbestos) to slip and trip, manual handling injuries like heavy lifting or inadequate training and failure to provide protective equipment. Accidents are common, be it in the office, warehouse, building site, factory, farm or on the road. If you drive for a living, be it a car, van, lorry or operating a forklift, then your employer is required to provide a vehicle that is safe and roadworthy, otherwise if you sustain an injury they may be required to pay you compensation. You can also make a claim if the injury has been caused by another member of staff.
Compensation claims are not limited to physical injury and can include psychological and stress related injuries. The more serious an injury the more compensation you are entitled to as the purpose of compensation is to put you in the position you would have been in had the accident not took place. So if you are unable to work again for a long period then your compensation calculation will take into account loss of earnings. If your claim is successful you will also receive payment for your medical expenses and in really serious cases your care needs will also be compensated.
Claiming against an employer can be stressful and awkward, so it is important to follow the correct procedure otherwise you may not be successful and could create an uncomfortable working environment for yourself.
Firstly, report all health and safety risks to your employer before an accident has taken place, this increases the burden on the employer. Upon the occurrence of an incident you should seek medical attention immediately. Be sure that you have the details of any witnesses, such as a colleagues or customers so that you can contact them to obtain evidence such as a statement. Other evidence such as photographs would also prove to be useful.
Finally, make sure that the accident is recorded in your employer’s “accident book”. This provides a record of any incidents that have occurred and this can facilitate any time off or compensation claims. If the injury is serious then it should also be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who are the national independent watchdogs for work-related health, safety and illness.
You should contact personal injury solicitors immediately if you have suffered from an injury at work. Most solicitors will work on a no win no fee basis on these types of cases and if successful you will receive 100 % of the compensation. A compensation claim for injury at work should be made within three years of the date of the accident, unless the injured party is under 18 in which case the three years do not start until their 18th birthday. If successful the compensation payment will be made from your employer’s insurers.