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Claiming for a Council Work Accident

Every employee should be able to work in a safe environment knowing they are protected from the risk of injury, and this includes people who work for their local council. Many people work for local authorities, covering a range of job roles that might leave them vulnerable to suffering an injury or accident at work – it’s not just people working in council offices; you may be able to claim against your local authority if you are employed by them as a:

If you are a council worker or employee of a local authority and have suffered an injury whilst at work, you might be able to make a personal injury compensation claim. You can speak to a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 for free advice.

Council worker injuries

The injuries and conditions suffered by council workers are diverse given the broad nature of roles within a local authority. As a council is responsible for everything from housing applications to cleaning the streets of rubbish each claim is unique. However, injuries are typically caused by negligence or by occupational hazards, such as equipment not working correctly or safety training not being given.

Regardless of your injury, your workplace has a duty of care to you to keep you safe from harm. This means they must make sure your workplace is safe, your equipment is fit for the role you’re doing and that you’re given the correct training for your role too.

Tripping hazards at work

In any kind of work for the council, tripping hazards are a real problem – whether you’re working in council offices or in a role that requires you to work outdoors or off-site. You have a right to be protected from harm as much as is reasonably possible and where hazards aren’t immediately fixable, they should be signposted so you can avoid them.

Find out more about slip and fall compensation.

DID YOU KNOW: 29 per cent of non-fatal injuries in the workplace in 2018/2019 were caused by slips, trips or falls, with lifting and carrying in 2nd place at 20 per cent. Falls from a height were the culprit in 8 per cent of injuries.

Industrial illnesses in council work

Industrial illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and other cancers are usually caused by exposure to asbestos, typically from construction work on older buildings. These are life changing illnesses and can result in serious chronic health complications.

They can often develop much later than when the original exposure happened. Don’t worry if that’s the case. While personal injury claims typically have three years from the date of the accident, in the case of industrial illnesses, you have three years from the date of diagnosis to make a claim, if you can attribute your illness to your exposure.

For advice about this type of claim, we recommend calling a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

Council workers may also suffer industrial deafness as a result of exposure to heavy machinery; for example, while working as a gardener.

Making a no win no fee claim against your employer

Starting a claim can seem confusing and stressful, particularly with legal terms like no win no fee, and the prospect of claiming against your employer. First of all, our solicitors are here to help at every step, so you don’t need to worry about knowing everything because you’ll have expert advice on hand.

Nearly all of our claims are made using a no win no fee agreement. This is a contract between you and your solicitor that says if they don’t win your case, then you don’t pay for their services. If you win, they’ll take an agreed percentage from your compensation known as a success fee.

To make a successful injury claim, you need to show that your local authority owed you a duty of care – meaning they were responsible for your safety and/or training. Your claim needs to establish this and also show that they breached this duty, and failed to keep you safe from an avoidable accident or injury. Your solicitor will help gather evidence to support this and work to prove that this was the case.

Your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf too. This means you don’t need to worry about awkward contact with your employer or talking about your compensation with them.

Can you be fired for claiming against the council?

Making a claim against the local authority can be daunting, but you are legally protected from being unfairly dismissed or treated differently following a compensation claim.This means if you were to be dismissed simply because you have made an injury claim, you’ll be able to take legal action for that too. It’s worth noting that the local authority will have indemnity insurance in place which covers the cost of compensation for injuries, so you don’t need to worry that any compensation you receive will affect the council’s services.

Compensation amounts

Unfortunately, we’re not able to tell you exactly how much compensation you’re likely to receive before you start your claim. This is because every accident is unique, and your compensation is calculated on your injury, recovery, salary and expense while your injured – to name a few factors.

Your solicitor will always negotiate to get you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. To do this they will collect their own evidence too, such as a report from a general medical practitioner, following a free medical assessment.

As well as claiming compensation for your injuries, condition and recovery, your solicitor will also take into account:

  • Loss of earnings – for example, for time off work while you recovered from your injury
  • Loss of future earnings – for example, if your injuries or condition mean you will remain out of work (whether temporarily or permanently)
  • Any expenses you’ve had to pay out for as a result of your injuries, such as private medical treatment

Serious accidents while working for the council

If you’ve suffered a serious accident while working for the council, we can assist you in claiming compensation to help with your life following the accident and your recovery. Compensation doesn’t take the pain or trauma away, but it can give you access to private treatment and get you the apology you deserve.

For the most part, serious injury claims work like a normal personal injury claim – you can still use a no win no fee agreement, and your solicitor will gather the evidence and handle the negotiations. Your compensation settlement may be larger, however, and the time to settle the claim could be longer. This can feel stressful and daunting when you have bills to pay. However, your solicitor will consider this and can negotiate an “immediate needs payment”, to get your bills and lifestyle covered while you wait for the claim to be settled.

In fact, your solicitor will be committed to getting you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve throughout your claim.

Also, in the event of a serious accident, your local authority will have informed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE is a governing body that oversees workplace safety. If so, this report will be gathered to help support your claim.

Can I claim compensation if I’m a council agency worker?

If you were in an accident as an agency worker, you can still make an injury claim. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 employers have a duty of care towards all employees working on their premises – this includes agency workers.

Claiming on behalf of someone else

If a loved one has been seriously injured while working for the local authority and they’re unable to claim for themselves as a result, you can make a claim on their behalf. In these cases, no win no fee is available in the exactly the same way as if they could make a claim themselves.

An injury solicitor can talk you through the process of claiming on their behalf – though do note that, in some cases, they may need the injured person’s consent to start the process.

The best way to get advice on this situation is to give a trained legal adviser a call – all calls are free and you have no obligation to start a claim. The number is 0800 234 6438.

Your local authority’s duty of care to workers

Every council and local authority owes a legal duty of care to their workers and employees. Wherever their employees work, councils must keep them as safe as they can reasonably be expected to, whether in the office or on the road or in public parks. For example:

  • A refuse collector can expect the bin lorry to be regularly serviced to minimise the risk of crushing injuries
  • A council office worker can expect tripping hazards to be removed from the stairways
  • A worker on a council recycling plant should be properly trained in the use of the equipment

Local authorities must follow rules set out in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, to reduce the chances of accidents in the workplace. Whether it’s providing training, doing risk assessments or protecting workers from bullying in the workplace, councils must ensure your working environment is as safe as possible.

Everyone deserves to feel safe whilst at work, and becoming injured as a result of your employer’s negligence can be upsetting. To find out whether you could claim, you can speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

DID YOU KNOW: Local authorities are collectively one of the largest UK employers, employing over two million staff.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
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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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.