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Your rights as an employee

What are my rights as an employee when it comes to personal injury?

When you go to work, you want to know your employer is doing everything they can to keep you and your colleagues are as safe as possible. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and associated regulations, employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business.

Your employer should make that sure you and other employees are protected from anything that could cause you harm, including controlling any risks to injury or health that could be caused by your work. For example, this might include making sure machinery is safely maintained, and that you’re provided with protective clothing and washing facilities.

Employers have a duty under these health and safety laws to carry out risk assessments that take into consideration all the risks. They should also give you information about the dangers in your workplace and how you’re protected, as well as training you on how to deal with those risks.

If your employer has failed to uphold their duty of care, and you’ve been injured as a result, then you have every right to make a personal injury claim to cover the costs your injury has caused, as well as the impact it’s had on your life.

Can I be sacked for making a personal injury claim?

It’s against the law for your employer to fire you or treat you any differently if you make a compensation claim against them. If they were to do so, then this would count as unfair dismissal (if you were sacked) or constructive dismissal (if you were forced out of your job by your employer making your life difficult).

Either action would allow an employment tribunal to award you compensation or even order that you’re given your job back by your employer.

Could I bankrupt my employer if I make a claim?

You might be worried that making a compensation claim against your employer will leave them financially hard up, but that won’t be the case. Every employer is required by law to have employers’ liability insurance to cover the cost of such compensation claims, so they won’t be out of pocket.

Can I still claim compensation if I’ve left my job?

Some conditions caused at work – such as an occupational illness brought on by asbestos – may not appear for a while after the initial accident or exposure. In the meantime, you might have moved to a different company or changed careers altogether.

However, if you can prove that there’s a link between your condition and your former place of work, you can still make a compensation claim, as long as the claim is made within three years of your diagnosis.

In some cases, your employer may have gone out of business altogether – especially if it’s been a long time since you worked there. If this applies to your situation, you can still make a compensation claim through your employer’s liability insurance. Their insurer will still be liable for your compensation, even your former employer is no longer trading.

What can I do if my employer breaches my employment rights?

If an employer breaches any of your employment rights, you have a right to seek compensation. The way you do this would depend on what sort of breach is involved, but many breaches – such as discrimination, being unfairly dismissed, or having unfair deductions made from your pay – would allow you to take your employer to an employment tribunal.

You’d usually need to make a claim to the tribunal within three months of your employment ending or the problem happening. You must tell the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal and you will usually have to go through Acas’s free ‘Early Conciliation’ service to see if your problem can be resolved without going to a tribunal. If early conciliation does not work, you can go to a tribunal and make a claim for compensation.

Making a personal injury claim

If your employer breached their duties under the health & safety laws and you were injured or left unable to work as a result, then you’re entitled to make a personal injury claim.

The first step in making a claim is to speak to a legally trained advisor on 0800 234 6438, or by filling in one of the secure call back forms on this page. They’ll ask you some questions about your injury and the accident which caused it, and will then be able to let you know whether they think you’ll be able to make a successful claim.

If you decide to go ahead, they’ll pass you on to a specialist personal injury lawyer who will give you further advice. Your solicitor will help you gather the evidence you need, such as medical reports and witness statements, to strengthen your case.

Your solicitor will refer you to a medical expert who will assess the cause of your injuries and how they have affected your life, and will fight hard to win you the compensation you deserve through an out of court settlement, or be with you every step of the way if your case has to go to court.

How much compensation might I receive?

The amount of compensation you receive for an accident at work will depend on the seriousness of your injuries and how long your recovery is likely to take.

It’s difficult for us to say exactly how much compensation you’ll receive, because it varies so much from case to case. But you can be sure that your solicitor will look at all the effects of your injury when working out your compensation figure. For example, they’ll take into consideration:

To get a rough idea of the amount of compensation you might be able to receive, you can try our free compensation calculator.

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.

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.