If you have been injured in an accident at work, you could be entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation. This is a reality for thousands of people in the UK each and every year who suffer injuries and illnesses at work due to their employer’s negligence.
An accident can happen in all types of working environments. So whether you work in an office block, a factory, a supermarket, a school or on a building site, there is always going to be the potential for an accident if health and safety measures are not observed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that over 620,000 people suffered from injuries at work in the year 2015/16. This included 144 people who unfortunately lost their lives as a result of workplace accidents.
If you have had an accident at work within the past three years, you could be entitled to compensation. Discussing your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer is a step you should take as soon as possible after your accident. Finding out whether you have a valid claim can usually be done over the phone and won’t normally take more than about 20 minutes.
The time limit for making time limit for making work accident claims is three years, but the sooner you start your claim the better. This is because as time goes on, the process of gathering evidence to support your case can become more difficult. In some cases, particularly industrial diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, the illness may not be known until many years after exposure to hazardous substances or working conditions. In these cases, the three year time limit does not start until the date your illness is diagnosed by a doctor, which is known as the date of knowledge.
When you make a personal injury claim, you will need some evidence to back up your version of events and the injury or illness you have suffered. Most employers should have an accident book at work, which will be used to log any accidents that happen. If your employer has one of these, you should make sure your accident has been properly reported at the time of the accident, or as soon as possible afterwards.
Depending on the sort of accident you have had, you might also be able to take photographs of the scene. This is particularly relevant to accidents involving faulty machinery, health and safety breaches or slips and trips. If you have visible injuries, such as cuts or bruising, it may also be worth taking photos of these as further evidence.
You should always have your injuries inspected and diagnosed by a doctor or nurse. Not only will this ensure that your injury or illness is correctly diagnosed and treated, but it will also ensure that your medical records are updated accordingly. This is important, particularly if you later decide to pursue a claim against your employer for personal injury.
You should also keep records of any financial losses you have incurred due to the accident. This might include lost wages, the cost of physiotherapy or medical treatment, care costs or transportation costs. You will need evidence, such as receipts for these payments, in order to reclaim these losses.
Once you have instructed an injury lawyer, they will record the details of your claim and send them to your employer. Once received, your employer would need to either contact their own solicitors or the insurance company that provides their employer’s liability insurance. They would examine your claim against them and would then need to confirm in writing whether they accept or deny liability for the accident.
If liability is accepted, the process of negotiating how much compensation you should receive will begin. This may involve some back and forth until an acceptable amount can be agreed upon by both parties. Once done, you would then receive payment of your compensation.
In some cases, an agreement on the amount of compensation you should receive may not be possible. Or your employer might simply deny any responsibility for the accident. If this happens, the only option would be to take your case to court. Both sides would argue their case before a judge, who would then make a decision on which side has won. If you win your case, the courts would then make a decision on the compensation you should receive.