Some industries – such as construction and agriculture – are notoriously risky places to work, with the office seen by many as offering a relative safe haven by comparison. And indeed, thanks to the UK’s strict health & safety and employment laws, most modern UK offices are designed with worker safety and comfort at the forefront.
Nevertheless, accidents can and do occur in an office environment, with thousands of people suffering injuries in office-based accidents every year in the UK, according to Health & Safety Executive statistics.
If you have had an accident in an office and are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you have every right to seek some sort of redress – usually in the form of compensation. Making a compensation claim might seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you are still recuperating, but a trained legal adviser can guide you through the whole process and take on all the stress so you don’t have to.
For free, no-obligation legal advice, call 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in the online form on this page to arrange a call back.
Accidents in an office environment can crop up in a number of different ways, and cause a variety of different injuries. Some of the most common include:
All employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to take all reasonable steps to safeguard your health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. This duty applies whether you work full-time, part-time or on a self-employed or on an agency basis. If they breach this duty and you are injured as the result of an accident at work it is very likely that you will have a legitimate claim for compensation.
The actions employers need to take to abide by the duty include:
For your compensation claim for an office accident to have any chance of success, you need to show the person responsible for your injuries was negligent. This means proving that:
For most workplace accident cases, negligence would be found if the employer responsible had failed to act how a ‘reasonable man’ or the famous ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ would act in a similar situation.
You need evidence to ensure your case is as robust as possible. Some evidence you can collect at the scene of the accident, while the rest can be gathered afterwards. This includes:
If you’re not sure how to obtain some of the evidence listed above, don’t worry! – your personal injury solicitor will be there to help you gather everything that is needed.
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years to bring a claim from the time of the accident or from the time the seriousness of your injuries becomes clear (whichever comes later). However, it is sensible to seek legal advice and bring your claim as soon as possible after your accident, while details are still fresh in your mind and in that of potential witnesses, and evidence more easily accessible.
Your claim will usually be brought using the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability and Public Liability) Claims, which sets time limits, standards and procedures that parties to a claim must abide by when bringing a claim.
If your claim is very complicated or of high value it may fall outside the pre-action protocol; your legal adviser can advise you of your options if this applies in your case.
The compensation you receive will depend on the seriousness of your injuries and your long-term prognosis, but could include damages for:
To get a rough idea of how much compensation you could receive for the pain and suffering caused by your injury, check out our compensation calculator.
All employers are required by law to take out employers’ liability insurance to cover any compensation claims made against them by anyone injured on their property. This means your employer will not be left out of pocket if you bring a compensation claim against them, as the insurance company will pay.
Some people who bring a compensation claim against their employer worry that they may be sacked or treated unfairly as a result. However, for your employer to do so is against the law and would entitle you to take them to an employment tribunal.
Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.
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