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I had an accident at work; what are my rights?

View profile for Aimee Brown
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If you have had an accident at work that was not your fault, then you may have the right to bring a claim for compensation. While you may be concerned about bringing a claim against your employer for fear of being treated unfairly, or even losing your job, you have the right to not be treated detrimentally for bringing the claim. Aimee Brown, Personal Injury Executive, explains more here about your rights if you have an accident at work, and the steps you should take following an accident.

Health and safety at work

Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure your health and safety at work and keep you safe from accident, injury or illness. Therefore, if you have an accident that was caused by their negligence which could have been avoided, they will be responsible for your injuries. There are certain industries where employees are more at risk, and so employers should provide the adequate personal protective equipment to ensure your safety, as well as ensure you are appropriately trained.

Even if they are not directly responsible, for example if a colleague causes your injury, they may still be liable as they are answerable for the actions of their whole workforce. 

If you have an accident at work, it’s important to do the following:

  1. Report this to your employer as soon as possible.
  2. Ensure that when you do so, they record the accident in the necessary report book. If you are not able to do this yourself, ask someone you trust to do so for you.
  3. Make your own notes about the accident, including the date, time and what led to the accident. Where possible, you should also collect witness statements and photographs.
  4. Make a copy of these notes and keep one yourself and give another to your employer for their records. 
  5. Visit your hospital or local GP, even if the injury does not seem serious at the time. Only by doing this will there be medical details recorded about your accident, which will be needed to pursue a claim.

What can I claim for after an accident at work?

When making a claim for compensation, there are two categories that will form the amount you will receive if successful:

  • The injury itself, which compensates you for your physical and emotional injury.
  • Financial losses, which might include loss of earnings, costs of travelling to and from medical appointments, prescription costs, private medical treatments or funding any alterations that need to be made in your home or to your care.

These figures will be determined by:

  • how long you have been off work to recover,
  • any rehabilitation or counselling that is required,
  • the impact on your day to day life, or your quality of life,
  • for more serious injuries, whether there are future care requirements or adaptations needed to your home.

In some situations, you may need an extended period of time off work to recover or you may need to make changes to your life before your compensation claim has been resolved. In this instance, it may be possible for us to recover an interim payment to cover these costs. 

Could I qualify for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits?

Following an accident at work, as well as understanding your rights on claiming compensation, it is also advisable to understand whether you can claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits (IIDB). There are certain criteria that need to be met including your employment status at the time of the accident and the circumstances leading up to it. IIDB may also be available to you if you contract a disease as a result of your employment, for example mesothelioma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“We understand that you may not feel comfortable in bringing a claim against your employer, particularly if you continue in your employment,” concludes Aimee. “Your employer not only has a legal obligation to keep you safe, but also has a legal obligation to have the necessary insurance in place to cover them against such claims. Any compensation therefore will be paid by the insurance company and not by your employer directly. It may be that after the accident, the insurance company contacts you and offers you a figure in return for not bringing a claim. If this happens, do not accept it without receiving legal advice.

“Everyone has the right to earn a living without being put in danger and so if you have an accident and decide to bring a claim for compensation, you have a right not be treated detrimentally or dismissed because of that. If you feel this happening or you are dismissed, then you should seek legal advice as you may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, depending on your length of service. Our Employment Law team can help with this and can also explain your other rights when it comes to Statutory Sick Pay.” 

If you have had an accident at work and would like to find out more about making a claim against your employer, your rights, or whether you could qualify for IIDB, then contact Aimee or the team on 0800 91 92 30 or email injuryteamenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.