If you have recently experienced an accident at work, you will know it is a serious occurrence and it is important to understand the avenues open to you in order to get what you may be entitled to and remain financially stable.
It is a basic principle in the UK that your employer has a duty to keep you safe at work. This includes providing a safe working environment, appropriate safety equipment, adequate training and instruction as well as a safe method to carry out the tasks required for your role. Much of the rights of employees and the relevant safety standards are laid out by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Failure to conform to this is taken very seriously and may lead to your employer being held accountable to those who suffer because of their failure to meet the required standards.
It is worth noting that what the appropriate level of safety measures is may vary depending on the nature of the business and your role. Working on a construction site demands more safety precaution and measures than in a shop and may also demand a greater level of care and responsibility from your employer but also potentially you the employee (so long as adequate training is provided). There is regulation (such as the “Handling Operations Regulations 1992” or “Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998”) for various tasks you may have to perform to ensure that nothing unsafe or unnecessarily strenuous is demanded of you at the expense of Health and Safety (these are merely a few examples). There is a large range of provision, and if necessary, it may be worth seeking advice on your specific circumstances to see what may be relevant for your case.
If you suffer a workplace accident it is critical that you take steps to report the incident properly (possibly to a manager or other relevant person). Depending on the severity of the accident your employer may be obliged to report it to the Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR (Reporting on Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (2013). It would be prudent to take steps to understand and evidence the extent of your injury; this could involve any relevant step from taking photographs to seeing a doctor. This may make a potential personal injury claim (See below) more likely to succeed. Furthermore, though it is the employer’s duty to take reasonable precaution for your safety, if you notice a safety risk bringing it to your employers’ attention before an accident occurs could help demonstrate they were at fault in not resolving the risk.
If you believe you suffered an injury in an accident at work and your employer is to blame you may wish to consider pursuing a Personal Injury Claim. It need not necessarily be that they caused the accident directly; it could be along the lines of failing to provide the relevant safety equipment reasonably necessary to prevent injury in your line of work. This could be viewed as negligent and if your employer is deemed to be at fault, you would be entitled to compensation. Compensation normally amounts to the value of your loss due to the injury and typically accounts for things such as loss of earnings, severity of the accident and any other relevant effects the injury may have had on your life. It very much turns on the facts surrounding your accident.
Advice should be sought from a quickly because there is a time limit on pursuing such a claim. This is normally three years and although this can sometimes be amended the court would likely only do it in exceptional circumstance. You should also be aware that pursuing a claim can get expensive and should you lose you may need to pay the legal fees of your employer as well as your own. There are options to explore for finance such as some solicitors may take on claims on a no win no fee basis.
It would be impossible to comment on the likelihood of success without knowing the situation however as mentioned before collecting and having to hand as much evidence as possible. The fuller the picture the better; what caused the accident? Who is to blame? Was a safety procedure not followed? How serious is the injury (at the time of accident and later on)? Where did it happen? What has the accident cost you? These are just some examples of things to consider, the list is by no means exhaustive and could change depending on what happened.
An immediate concern for those who suffer an injury as a result of an accident and are unable to work may be the loss of income suffered as a result.
Firstly, your contract of employment may provide for contractual sick pay and the circumstance in which it is given. This can vary depending on the employer and potentially your position within a company, so it is a worth examining closely as this option if it is included would likely be more favourable than Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Statutory Sick Pay is a base minimum entitlement paid to you by your employer so long as you meet the relevant criteria and are not ineligible due to your circumstance. Under SSP you get £94.25 per week for a maximum of 28 weeks. To qualify you must have commenced your employment, conform to the sick pay policy of your employer and you must be sick for four full days in a row or more. It is inconsequential if you are a part time or full-time employee though in either case you must earn at least £118 (before tax) per week. It is worth noting if you have two employers both may be due you SSP, even if the accident leading to the illness/injury was caused by only one of them.
If you are not eligible for SSP, it is worth considering if you could be entitled to other programmes such as Universal Credit.
For clear, informed legal advice and assistance from on a work-related injury get in touch with our expert team. Call 0141 375 1222 or email
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