How to claim for an accident at work

Workers on construction site

Everyone deserves a safe workplace.

On the surface some industries can seem more risky of workplace accidents like construction, offshore or even the emergency services. Yet if employers follow regulations and utilise proper PPE, safe processes ensure staff get the right training then it can mitigate against these risks.

But not all employers do this.

Some workers are not given access to the right training, tools, PPE or they have to work in unsafe conditions.

Why do bosses do this? Who can say… maybe they think they are saving time or money or it’s some kind of stance against “health and safety gone mad”.

But it’s not mad because health and safety rules help you get home. 

Can I claim for an accident at work?

If your employer failed to comply with health and safety regulations then you are entitled to claim compensation. 

They have a duty of care and the law dictates they must carry out risk assessments and take steps to minimise any danger to employees. This is even the case if your accident was caused by a colleague at works negligence.

Thankfully, health and safety at work has improved vastly over the years as employers are held accountable for any failings. Sadly, this doesn't mean work accidents don't happen. 

So what to do if you are injured in an accident at work?

When pursuing a claim against your employer for an injury at work, there are a few steps you can take to help.

Seek medical attention: It is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following an injury at work. Your medical records will be used as part of your compensation claim.

Take pictures for evidence: If possible, take pictures of what caused the accident and your injuries. This helps build a picture of the immediate incident. 

Accident report: Retain a copy of the accident report. Ensure all details entered on the document are correct. Your employer should also provide you with a copy of the report in the accident book – if they haven’t you are entitled to request one. 

Witness details: Take note of any contact details of people who witnessed the accident. This will make it easier for your solicitor to contact them for a witness statement if it’s needed to help with a successful claim. 

Can I be sacked for making an accident at work claim?

Making a personal injury claim is not fair grounds for dismissal after an accident. 

If you lose your job after making an accident at work claim then this could be classed as unfair dismissal. Additionally if your employer made your life difficult after a claim and you felt pressured to resign then you may have grounds for a constructive dismissal case.

Will I get paid if my injury stops me from working?

This will all depend on your contract with your employer. Not all workers receive full pay if they can’t work due to sickness or injury.

However, if you don't get full sick pay you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to help you get by. 

As part of your compensation claim, we will take into account any loss of earnings you suffered as a result of your injury - and any losses you may experience in the future as a consequence. For example, if you are no longer able to go back and do the same job because of your injuries, or if this will impact on future job prospects and promotion.

What can I claim for?

As well as loss of earnings, there are a number of things that will make up your work injury claim. There is no such thing as a compensation calculator - every person and every circumstance is different.

Some of the common injuries reported to Health and Safety Executive are:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Handling, lifting or carrying
  • Struck by a moving object
  • Act of violence
  • Falls from a height

The amount of compensation you are awarded will depend on how severe your injuries are and the long term impact, rehabilitation and support as well as any possible adaptions or equipment you now need as a result of your injuries.

Our client Tony Kane was injured in a dumper truck accident and has been left with a spinal cord injury. As part of this compensation claim, we helped him get an interim payment before the case settled to help ease financial worries. We also helped him adapt his home with his very own gym to build up his upper body strength, which is needed to push a wheelchair. Access to early rehabilitation helped his recovery, allowing him to live as independently as possible.  

You can also be compensated for any expenses you've incurred because of your injuries such as taxis to medical appointments, or hiring someone to do your gardening - or even the help from family and friends.

What happens during a work injury claim?

Firstly, you would contact our Legal Enquiry Team which can offer you free advice and explain the process. From here, you would sign up as a client.

Statement and funding: one of the first thing our solicitors will do is take a statement from yourself about what happened and explain how your case is funded.

Intimating the claim: we write to the other side to let them know we are making a compensation claim on your behalf. This starts the dialogue between both parties.

Evidence and reports: we gather all the different reports and statements needed to support your claim. This could be workplace accident log entries, witness statements, medical evidence, loss of earnings, impact of your injuries on present job and future progression.

Settlements: we need to prove employer is at fault and agree how much compensation is owed as a result using medical and financial evidence. In most scenarios, cases are settled out of court but we can use court action if necessary to get you the compensation you are entitled to.

Will my employer pay the compensation?

No. Many of our clients are worried their employer will be personally responsible for paying their compensation out of their own pocket. This does not happen. Your work is required by law to have Employer’s Liability Insurance and it is this insurance that pays out in the event of an injury claim. 

How long do I have to claim for a work accident?

Like other areas of personal injury law, there is a time limit and you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim. There are exceptions, for example, if the work accident happened abroad time limits may be shorter.

However, the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to have a successful outcome. This is because evidence can be lost which is needed to prove your claim and witness memories fade over time. 

Why do I need a law firm - can’t I handle it myself?

It is common for employers to deny any fault or liability for any injury or accident. For workers this often means they can only recover the compensation they deserve via a legal action. 

This means gathering the right evidence and knowing how to fully investigate and assess your injuries and the impact they have on your life. It also means covering legal costs and the costs of actually gathering that evidence. 

We believe the best way to do all that is via a no win no fee basis with a reputable and independent law firm who has specialist accident at work solicitors.

For more information on the claims process you can read our Accident at Work advice page to understand why Digby Brown is the best place to seek help.