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Claiming for Compensation following an Accident at Work

by Personal Injury Claims Blawg on February 1, 2013

Blog post regarding how to claim for compensation following injuries sustained from an accident at work in the UK.

Every employer is required by law to provide a safe working environment and must ensure that they create safe systems of work for their employees.  This places an obligation on an employer to ensure that they examine the potential hazards faced by employees when undertaking a particular task, and ensuring that such hazards are kept to a minimum or, ideally, eliminated. Employers must also provide, and maintain, the necessary machinery and tools for employees to complete their jobs and such machinery must be in a safe condition.

An extension of this is that employees must be supplied with the necessary safety equipment and work wear required to carry out their roles i.e. hard hats, protective overalls etc.  Again, if this is not maintained or is not fit for purpose then the employer may be liable.  A rich seam of accident at work claims arise as a result of insufficient, or complete absence of, training.  These claims can range from a lack of training on manual handling techniques to a lack of training regarding a new piece of plant machinery.  It is worth noting that the sufficiency of any training will be examined in any claim.

If an employer fails to achieve these standards and, subsequently, an accident occurs, it may be possible to claim for accident at work compensation.  While the most common scenario envisaged may be that of a factory worker suffering an accident in the workplace, it is most often the case that a claim is brought as a result of a slip, trip or fall or as a result of a manual handling accident in an office-based environment.

Who Can Claim?

Accident at work compensation can be claimed for any personal injury sustained in the workplace that is either the fault of another employee or as a result of the negligence of the employer.  The accident should be reported immediately so as to ensure that it is recorded in the employer’s incident log book (this will be used by your solicitor as evidence to support your claim).  There are other pieces of supporting evidence that can be used by your solicitor to support your claim, for example medical records, expert witness statements etc.

There are some types of employment that are, however, inherently risky.  In many circumstances there will be specific legislation covering certain aspects of such work (the Working at Height Regulations is an example of this).  It should be remembered therefore that, if an accident occurs in the workplace, the employer is not automatically liable to pay compensation.  In order for this to be the case the employer must be in breach of their legal duties (some of which have been detailed above).

Risk Assessments

An important aspect of an employer’s obligation to its employees is through the use of risk assessments.  This allows an employer to identify the risks involved in the work carried out by particular employees and this must be recorded.  An employer will, however, be liable if such risk assessments are found to be insufficient or not acted upon.

When it comes to a compensation award, the courts will have regard to the severity of any injury sustained as well as the severity of any lasting effects.  The costs incurred by the injured party in seeking and obtaining treatment for the injury will also be factored in.  This is also something that a solicitor will be able to provide advice on at a reasonably early stage.  It may very well be the case that a solicitor will enter into a negotiation with the legal representative of an employer in order to reach a settlement out of court.  An employer should, in most cases, have insurance to provide cover should they be the subject of any claim for accident at work compensation.

People are sometimes reluctant to make a compensation claim against their employer for fear of being victimised or marginalised in the workplace.  However, should you wish to make a claim for accident at work compensation, it should be noted therefore that there are very strict legal rules in place that prevent employers from acting in such a manner.  Another barrier that people may envisage is the cost of bringing a claim, however the existence of no win no fee arrangements with solicitors means that the financial risks in making a claim are negligible.

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

PI claims blogger at PIClaimsBlawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg is a personal injury law blog, inviting contributions from practitioners, PI law firms and legal academics across the UK, US and beyond. The post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today.
Personal Injury Claims Blawg

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