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Accidents at Work

Accident at Work Compensation

When you’re getting on with your day-to-day job, the last thing you expect is to be injured. If you’ve suffered from a work injury due to somebody else’s negligence, then you shouldn’t be left to deal with the financial and emotional consequences on your own.

You can probably make a work accident injury claim if:

The best way to find out whether you could make a work injury claim is to get in touch with a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 – or submit your name and number using the form on this page to request a call back.

What kind of work accidents can I claim for?

No two accidents or injuries are the same, so you might be feeling unsure whether you’ll be able to make a claim. In fact, with numerous different industries across the UK, there are many different types of workplace accidents which happen, such as:

So if you’ve suffered an injury in an accident at work in the last three years; or discovered you are suffering a condition related to your working environment, you may well be able to make a claim.

The quickest way to find out whether you could make a compensation claim is to speak to a legal adviser on 0800 234 6438.

DID YOU KNOW: Workplace injuries cost an estimated £5.6 billion in 2018/19.

Making an Accident at Work Claim

Summary

If you’ve suffered an injury following any type of workplace accident and it was someone else’s fault, you can make a compensation claim against your employer.

It is only right and fair that you are awarded compensation for the extent of pain and suffering you have endured. This extends to any occupational condition or industrial illness that has been caused while you were at work.

Work Accident Video
This short video takes you through a basic introduction on claiming for compensation if you have been injured in an accident at your workplace.

Your rights to making a claim

The law gives you, as an injured individual, the right to make an injury claim against the person or organisation who should be held responsible for what happened. So long as your solicitor can prove on balance that the other side was negligent and your injury or illness was a direct consequence of the accident or working environment, you have the right to bring your injury claim.

How do I make an accident at work claim?

Your important first step towards making a work injury claim is to get in touch with an expert legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 – or ask for a call back by entering your name and number at the top of this page – for free guidance on how you can make your claim. Your work accident claim for personal injury compensation will most likely be brought against your employer’s insurance company, not your actual employer. All employers are legally required to hold public liability insurance to cover the risk of personal injuries in the workplace.

After your initial conversation, your adviser will pass you on to one of their partner solicitors. They’ll talk through some of the details of your accident and injuries and will weigh up your chance of success based on whether the other side is likely to be liable (responsible) for your injuries.

When the specialist injury lawyer takes your claim, they will deal with the groundwork on your behalf. This means you don’t need to worry about being out of your depth and you can concentrate on your recovery.

Your solicitor will never take a claim forward if they don’t think there’s a chance of success – that wouldn’t be fair on you and could also be costly for them.

Assuming the claim goes ahead, and its value is no more than £25,000, the legal process will be governed by what is known as the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims, which sets out how both sides to the claim should deal with the claim, up to when formal court proceedings commence (if at all).

Under the protocol, your solicitor will send a Letter of Claim to the other side. This will set out the details of the accident and the circumstances in which it occurred; the injuries you sustained; and the effects on your life, your finances and your family.

The other party then has 21 days to respond. They may either admit or deny responsibility for your injuries. In some cases, they may claim that they were only partly responsible for what happened.

If they admit liability: This means the other party admits being responsible for your accident, in which case the process of negotiating your compensation can then begin.

If they deny liability: Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the other side to deny liability to begin with. If they do in your case, your solicitor will gather the evidence necessary to prove that the accident was their fault.

Your solicitor will have a lot of experience helping people to make personal injury claims, so they’ll make sure you get the amount of compensation you deserve.

You can find out more about how the claims process works by visiting our claims process page. Be assured you will not be pushed into making a claim – your adviser will give you free, friendly advice and to let you know whether they think you can make a claim.

Will I have to go to see a solicitor?

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you should speak with expert injury solicitors (or legal executives) who are highly qualified lawyers and best placed to give you the specialist advice on your claim.

If you’re thinking about starting a claim, you may understandably be feeling unsure how to get started and what type of solicitors’ firm to choose. There are so many different options around and we understand why it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, you need to watch out for inexperienced or incompetent injury lawyers fighting to do your claim. We’re here to let you know what to look out for, and to guide you through the process of finding the right personal injury solicitor.

Avoid any companies that contact you using spam marketing, such as cold-calling, or unsolicited emails and texts. This is unethical behaviour from companies who put profit before clients’ interests, and is an indication of how you’ll be treated during your claim.

A trained legal adviser will only partner you with an expert work injury lawyer who will be able to properly advice you whether your claim is likely to be successful. They are also experienced in negotiating fair levels of compensation as early as possible, enabling you to get on with your life.

A specialist injury lawyer can also help you get the rehabilitation and medical advice you need for your recovery; and will advise you on how to protect your money once you’ve received your compensation.

Will I have to go to court?

You’ll be encouraged to know that it’s unlikely you’ll have to go to court when you make a work accident injury claim. The vast majority – more than 95% – of personal injury claims are settled before formal court proceedings are even issued, which means a court hearing does not become necessary.

This is because no one wants their case to go to court – not even the other side. Usually, it is only the biggest claims that reach the courts. You can be assured that your specialist injury solicitor will work hard to settle your claim to avoid a court hearing. However, your solicitor will not settle for anything less than you deserve.

Settling your injury claim will be best for all the parties concerned – it enables you to concentrate on getting your life back on track and means your employer can quickly put the incident and its repercussions behind it (while hopefully learning lessons from what happened).

In many cases, the claim is settled after court proceedings have been started. If this happens, it’s still unlikely you’ll have to go to court. It’s not unusual for solicitors to decide to issue proceedings as a way of persuading the other side to agree to settle if negotiations have reached an impasse; or because the other side is not complying with the rules under the pre-action protocol. Often, issuing proceedings can actually speed up the resolution of your claim.

Even if you were expected to attend court in future, you need not worry that you’ll be facing a jury – injury claims are civil claims, not criminal trials, so any hearing will be before a judge. The experience is not nearly as daunting as you might imagine.

I’ve had an accident at work, what should I do?

In the aftershock of an accident, it can be difficult to think about what to do. You may be experiencing a range of emotions and flashbacks, not to mention the physical impact and effects of your injuries. But if you are able to, there are some initial steps which you should bear in mind if you can.These steps can help hugely when it comes to making a compensation claim:

As well as contacting a legal adviser, gather as much information and evidence as you can to help get your claim started. Your injury solicitor will want to see any photographs you have of the location of the accident and of your original injuries, as well as any sketch indicating how the accident happened, the accident log book entry, any diary you have kept that may be relevant and details of witnesses.

You will also need to give your solicitor the contact details of your doctor and any relevant hospital details so that they can request your medical records.

Self Employed Work Injury Claims

You may have been self-employed at the time of your accident, but that does not prevent you from making an injury claim. You may, for example, be a self-employed bricklayer, an electrician or plumber who has been injured while working.

This is because if you’re self-employed, a sub-contractor or freelancer, or even an agency worker, you still have legal protection from work accidents under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other laws.

Companies are required to ensure those working on their premises have a safe working environment in which to work and carry out their duties. They have a duty of care which extends to those who are not in the company’s fulltime employment. So if you are self-employed and injured at work, you should still be able to make an injury claim.

Similarly, agency workers who are hurt while on work premises have the legal right to make an injury claim. Their claim will most likely be against the company (its insurer) rather than the agency itself.

That said, the agency could in some cases be held liable if it was partly at fault – for example, if it was within the agency’s remit to provide training or appropriate equipment to the worker, but failed to do so.

If you’re unsure of your employment status and of your right to make an injury claim, an expert legal adviser will talk this through with you so you need not worry about being unsure about your legal rights.

DID YOU KNOW: There were around 4.56 million self-employed people in the UK in August 2020.

What if I’m on a Zero Hours Contract?

In 2021 there were around 860 thousand people on zero hours contracts in the UK. Workers who enjoy the flexibility of operating under so-called zero hours contracts can also bring an injury claim following an accident at work. Companies have clear duties under health and safety legislation towards all workers, whatever their status, to ensure they are working in a safe environment, free from the risk of injury. So however casual your working relationship with your ‘employer’, if you were injured while working for them as a result of their failures to comply with health and safety laws, you can bring an injury claim.

What are the grounds for a work-based compensation claim?

A work accident injury claim can be brought under what is called the ‘common law’ of negligence and/or for breach of statutory duty.

Negligence arises where the defendant – in this case, the employer – owed a duty of care to the injured person; that duty was breached; and the victim’s personal injury (and possibly other losses) directly resulted from that breach. This means if it can be demonstrated that a duty owed to you by the employer was breached, and your injuries were the consequences of that breach – your claim should succeed.

In addition, legislation strengthening the rights of individuals injured in the workplace has been introduced over the years. The various statutory obligations imposed on companies means claimants who are injured in the workplace can bring an injury claim on grounds of breach of statutory duty. Breach of statutory duty can also be relied on in a negligence claim.

Your injury solicitor will consider the circumstances of your accident and your worker status to decide on what grounds to bring your claim, giving you the best possible chance of success.

What are the most common workplace accidents?

It is common to hear of the same types of workplace accident time and again. The fact is, some accidents are more likely than others. Perhaps the most common accidents are falls from heights, forklift accidents and machinery accidents which can involve limb amputations.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the three most common non-fatal injuries at work are:

Other accidents that regularly happen at work include:

DID YOU KNOW: In the food and drinks industry, falls from height are the third highest cause of fatal accidents and lead to around 80 major injuries each year.

How do most workplace accidents happen?

By far the main reasons for workplace accidents are lack of training and supervision, failure to provide adequate warning signs of hazards, poor maintenance of equipment, out-of-date equipment and manual handling and carrying.

In fact, a third of accidents at work are caused by manual handling, typically causing back injuries which can be incapacitating and result in time off work.

DID YOU KNOW: 300,000 people in the UK suffer from back pain due to manual handling accidents.

To this list we can also add, for example, failures to undertake regular or adequate risk assessments in the workplace, overexertion or an extremely pressurised working environment.

Is my employer responsible for my accident at work?

If the incident was not your fault, it’s probably safe to say your employer is most probably responsible for your workplace accident. While no business can ever completely remove the risk of injury at work, the likelihood is that if an incident happened in the workplace and you were injured – it is the employer’s responsibility.

This means that your employer is then responsible to put things right by way of paying you fair compensation – and ensuring such an accident does not happen again.

DID YOU KNOW: There were 500,000 work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases (new or long-standing) in 2018/2019, representing 37% of all types of work-related ill health.

What happens if my employer goes bust?

If you wish to bring a claim against your employer but the business has gone bust – or it goes into insolvency after the claim has begun – you should still be able to claim compensation. This is because you can expect that the business had liability insurance in place, in which case your claim will be against the insurer and not the insolvent company.

On the flip side, if the business has gone bust and it had no such insurance – you may well not be able to bring an injury claim.

However, if the claim dates back to before 1 August 2016 – for instance, in cases of industrial illness – the situation may be more complex and you will need to discuss it with your specialist solicitor.

What happens if my employer’s insurer goes bust?

If the insurer itself goes into liquidation, your claim should still progress – it will be handled by the insurer’s run-off agent or claims handling company.

What are the legal duties of an employer?

Accidents can happen in almost any industry – from office workers and factory workers to lorry drivers and police officers. But naturally, some jobs carry more risk than others, which is why there are laws and procedures in place which are specifically designed to help keep people safe while they’re at work.

By law, all employers are legally required to make sure the working environment is as safe as possible. As part of this, they should provide you with the training and safety equipment you need for your role. They should also carry out regular risk assessments and take other appropriate steps to avoid accidents from happening.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 sets out rules which employers should follow to reduce the chances of accidents happening. For example, the very basics of this includes:

If your employer has failed to follow these regulations and you suffered injury as a result, then it’s most likely you can seek help to make a work injury claim.

Duty of care

To make a successful injury claim for compensation against your employer, your solicitor will need to prove on balance that your employer was negligent or breached its legal duties. This means showing:

A breach of specific rules, such as health and safety at work regulations, will also be sufficient to prove negligence. Your solicitor will be able to advise yno ou how best they can prove your injury claim and work towards a prompt and fair settlement.

Legislation relating to safety at work

The fact that employers now have a legal duty of care towards their employees set out in legislation has come about over many years and via a gradual process. The no win no fee system of personal injury compensation for the victims of work injuries plays a vital role in ensuring that this duty is taken seriously by employers.

The purpose of health and safety legislation is not simply to protect workers but also to guide employers in how to ensure a safe working environment to minimise the risks of accidents and injuries in the first place. Failures to comply with these statutory responsibilities significantly raises the risks of accidents at work.

The statutory obligations on employers are set out in various laws, particularly:

The range and extent of these laws and regulations demonstrate the high standards expect of employers to keep their workforce as safe from injury as is practical. If you have been injured because of any health and safety failures on the part of your employer, contact a legal adviser to get your claim started.

Do employers have any accident reporting obligations?

Yes, employers and the self-employed are legally required to report major injuries, fatal accidents and occupational diseases to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 – RIDDOR).

The range of injuries and conditions reportable include specified injuries, such as crush and burn injuries and fractured bones; and injuries causing you to have at least 7 days off work or requiring immediate hospital treatment.

DID YOU KNOW: In 2019-2020, 111 work-related fatalities and 65,427 non-fatal injuries to workers were reported by employers under RIDDOR.

How does the accident at work claim process work?

What happens during a workplace accident claim?

The claims process is usually straightforward and not nearly as daunting as you might imagine. Expert legal advisers are experienced in speaking with clients with empathy and understanding and will carefully take the background details from you. You will be free to answer any questions you have before you decide to move onto the next step.

Assuming you do have a good claim, they will partner you with a specialist injury solicitor who will support you each step of the way. So what happens next?

  1. If you decide to pursue your claim, your solicitor will be your main contact for your case. Whatever queries you have, they’ll be on hand to help you and to keep you updated on the progress of your claim.
  2. To start the claim, your solicitor will need to ask further details about your injury and the impact it’s had on your life – this is so that they can make sure you receive all the compensation you deserve.
  3. Your solicitor will then notify your employer that you’re making a claim. To do this, they’ll send a Letter of Claim. This will detail your injuries and the accident, as well as the effects they have had on you and your family.
  4. Your employer will pass the notification to its insurance company (assuming it is insured against workplace injury). They have 21 days to acknowledge your letter of claim and will then either admit or deny ‘liability’ (responsibility) for your injuries. It’s not uncommon for them to deny liability at first – if this happens, your solicitor will gather evidence to prove that the accident was their fault.
  5. Your solicitor will work robustly to negotiate a fair compensation settlement on your behalf, while keeping you regularly updated on the progress of your claim. They’ll also be able to help you decide whether to accept any compensation offers. There might be some paperwork along the way, but they’ll be able to explain everything to you and can do most of it on your behalf.
  6. If a settlement can’t be reached (though this is highly unusual) you may need to go to court, however, solicitors will be there to help and advise. In some cases you might not even need to appear in court in person if you don’t want to.
  7. Assuming your solicitor settles your claim, you’ll usually receive your compensation quite quickly – normally within two to four weeks.

Will I need to provide proof for my accident at work claim?

For the best possible chance of a successful claim and the maximum compensation figure, you will need to provide as much evidence as possible to prove your claim. Your solicitor will want to make it as tricky as possible for your employer to refute your claim, so that your compensation can be settled and paid out as soon as practicable. So, ideally you need to be able to give your solicitor the following:

You will also need to provide a full account of what happened, so if you’re able to write it down while the incident and the injuries are fresh in your mind, this will only strengthen your case.

Is there a maximum time frame for claiming for a work accident?

Yes, there is a very important legal rule that you have three years after the date of a workplace accident to start a formal claim, otherwise you may be out of time under the Limitation Act 1980. In the case of conditions and illnesses, the 3-year limitation period may not be so clear cut and the law recognises this. It also states that claims must be started within three years from the date of ‘knowledge’, ie. the date on which you first became aware that the workplace environment or incident directly caused – or exacerbated – your injuries. This is particularly important in cases of industrial diseases and illnesses, such as cancer, vibration white finger and noise-induced hearing loss.

If you’re claiming on behalf of someone who has a mental disability – for instance, if your spouse was seriously injured in a work accident and has lost their mental capacity as a result – this three-year period doesn’t start to run until they’ve regained their mental capacity.

Also, any person who was injured while under the age of 18 has until their 21st birthday to start their claim. So if, for instance, your 16-year-old was working in a factory or building site during school holidays the law allows for a longer period in which to claim injury compensation. However, it’s always best to get the ball rolling as early as possible while events are fresh in your mind.

How much could my claim be worth?

The amount of compensation an injured person may receive varies significantly from case to case, depending on the severity of the injuries and the effect the accident has had on your life.

Helpfully, there is a formal table – the Judicial College Guidelines – setting out the appropriate tariff depending on the nature of the injury and length of recovery time.

For example, back injuries could attract compensation of between £7,000 up to £128,320, and an arm amputated by machinery could attract between £76,650 to £110,000. Less serious injuries could be compensated by up to £3,750 for a fractured finger and minor injuries £550 up to £1,950 (depending on recovery time).

The fact is, no two work accident cases are the same, which is why your solicitor will look closely at the details of your case before settling on a fair compensation figure.

This does mean that it’s difficult for us to say exactly how much you could claim before starting your case. However, to get a guideline figure you will find our free compensation calculator a useful starting point.

How long does it take to make an injury at work claim?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this because so many factors might be at play. Even if your solicitor gives you a rough prediction at the outset, this can quickly change depending on how long your recovery takes, what response is received from the other side and how long it takes to negotiate a settlement. The more serious your injuries and the greater the complexity of the case, the longer it will take. This is partly because specialist medical evidence may be necessary from more than one doctor, and other expert witnesses and evidence may be required. This can be a time-consuming process.

If liability is disputed, even relatively small claims can take longer because a court hearing may be necessary to decide who was at fault for the accident. If court proceedings become necessary, the process would take even longer. However, your solicitor will keep you updated as to how the claim progresses and you won’t be left in the dark.

If I make a claim does it put my job at risk?

When it comes to making an injury claim against your employer, there are laws in place to protect you from being unfairly dismissed or treated differently, such as the Employment Rights Act 1996. Quite simply, it’s illegal for you to be fired or disciplined for making a claim against your employer. This means that in the unlikely event you do lose your job, or were harassed for making your claim, you’ll be able to take legal action against your employer. The law is there to protect you so you should not be at risk of losing your job.

DID YOU KNOW: In a survey carried out by claims.co.uk, 45% of people said they would worry about losing their job if making a claim against their employer.

Will my employer be left out of pocket if I claim?

All businesses are required to have liability insurance which covers them if an employee is injured while at work. This means your claim will be against the insurance company and not the employer directly; and compensation will therefore be paid by the insurer – it will not come out of your employer’s pocket.

So you need not feel guilty about suing your employer for compensation, it should not have any impact on the finances of the business.

What will work accident compensation cover?

Your compensation for injuries following a workplace accident will most probably comprise both ‘general’ damages and ‘special’ damages.

General damages: general damages compensations you for your actual injuries or condition and any ongoing suffering.

Special damages: this compensates you for your specific financial losses that resulted directly from the accident, such as:

Your solicitor will need details, such as receipts and invoices, of any financial losses incurred which you need to claim back.

What if the accident was partly your fault?

There are cases where a work-place accident was not fully the fault of the employer – it might also be partly the employee’s fault. But importantly, you can still make an injury claim. However, if you were partly to blame for the accident, the compensation you win will be lower to reflect the extent to which you were to blame. For instance, if you are awarded £100,000 compensation but you were 20% legally responsible for what happened you could expect your compensation to be reduced to £80,000.

If you think you were partly at fault, don’t assume you can’t take any action. Speak to an expert legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 about the background to the accident – you may even find you should not be held responsibile at all.

If you were completely at fault

In some cases, workers are injured because of their own carelessness and no one else’s, in which case the employer will not be held responsible, and you cannot make an injury claim.

But you should still talk it through with a legal adviser. There are cases where the injured person thinks the incident was their own fault when in fact it wasn’t. Always check!

Can I claim for occupational illness or disease?

If you are suffering from an occupational illness or industrial disease, you should be able to claim compensation – even if it was caused many years ago. The law recognises that it can sometimes take decades for an individual to realise they are suffering, for instance, from industrial deafness, cancer or carpal tunnel syndrome. But it is only fair that they should have the right to bring an injury claim in these circumstances.

When you call, give your legal adviser as much information as you can about your old employer, and their partner solicitors should then be able to trace its insurers. Once they have been identified, your claim will be made against the insurance company.

DID YOU KNOW: More than 2,600 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the UK. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 60 to 80.

While I am off work, am I entitled to Statutory Sick Pay?

If you are employed and have been injured at work and you need more than four consecutive days off sick to recover, you should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (currently £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks).

Many employers are more generous and will pay more than the SSP rate to injured employees. Your contract of employment may state what your entitlement is in these circumstances, or your employer will be able to tell you if it operates a sick pay scheme.

In some cases, an employer who is clearly liable for your injuries may agree to pay more generously, even if they don’t have to.

The Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit may also be available if you were employed at the time of the accident, and you need time off work because of a work-related accident or illness. The maximum amount available is currently £182.90 per week.

If you’re self-employed and need time off work, you’re not entitled to SSP but you may be entitled to other benefits, such as employment and support allowance. Your solicitor will be able to discuss these possibilities with you.

Can I get an interim compensation payment?

What if you need a quick payment to pay for costs relating to, for example, adjustments at home to aid your recovery? In cases of serious injuries or claims involving children, your solicitor may be able to arrange for you to receive ‘interim’ payments of compensation before your final settlement. The purpose of interim payments is to cover your immediate needs and the short-term costs of your injuries and can be particularly important it there is a long road to recovery.

Larger claims, including multiple injury claims, can be particularly complicated, which means it can sometimes take a long time for such claims to be completed. We know your injuries will have already caused you a significant amount of stress and expense, so, where possible, your solicitor will work hard to secure an interim payment of compensation ahead of the full compensation payment.

However, it is important to understand that interim payments are only available if liability is admitted by the other side. Your solicitors will work hard to ensure the issue of liability is settled as soon as possible so that they can concentrate on achieving a fair settlement and interim payments when possible.

Why choose claims.co.uk

Benefits

By contacting claims.co.uk, you get access to legal advisers who have years of experience in speaking with accident at work victims and understand their unique needs. They are best placed to partner you with the best injury lawyer to enable your claim to proceed as smoothly as possible, securing the compensation you deserve.

Regulatory information

claims.co.uk ltd is a claims management company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration is recorded on https://register.fca.org.uk (Firm Reference Number 836261).

About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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