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Work-related injury claims

What is a work-related injury?

If you’ve been injured at work, or sustained a work-related injury that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation.

Workplace injury claim

A work-related injury is a physical, mental or psychological condition that you have sustained as a result of your employment.

If you are injured at work, it can be stressful and expensive. However, the UK has laws in place to protect employees from injury and help them get back to work if they are unable to do so due to their injury.

If you’ve had an accident at work, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation if your employer was negligent. If they failed in providing you with adequate equipment, sufficient personal protective equipment, or training prior to the accident occurring which resulted in your injury.

To find out more about making work compensation claims, or if you think you’re owed work accident compensation, get in touch today and speak with a trained legal advisor for a free initial consultation on 0800 234 6438.

What type of injuries happen at work?

Workplace injuries can be any of the following:

  • You have been injured because of a defective product or service. This could be something that has gone wrong with machinery, tools or equipment in the workplace.
  • You have been injured because of an accident caused by someone else at work. This may include being attacked by another employee or customer.
  • Your employer has failed to provide you with proper training and safety instructions when carrying out certain tasks at work and you’ve sustained injuries as a result of not having sufficient knowledge or preparation on your part.
  • You have been injured because of a breach of health and safety regulations by your employer.
  • You have not been provided with the correct safety equipment or personal protective equipment when using machinery or tools.

What are the most common workplace accidents?

The most common types of workplace accidents are as follows:

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common workplace accidents. Slips and trips can happen anywhere in the workplace: in hallways, on stairs, at the office water cooler or even on the way to your car after work.

Some of these incidents are caused by a slippery surface like oil or water spills; others occur when floors are uneven or wet. Falls can be especially serious if you accidentally fall onto sharp objects like boxes or desks.

Even though this type of accident may seem minor compared to others that could happen at work (like being injured by heavy machinery), slips, trips and falls account for about 37 percent of all workplace injuries each year.

Falls from height

Falls from height are one of the most common type of workplace accident, according to the Office of National Statistics. This is especially true in construction and manufacturing industries, which often involve working at height (and thus risk falling). Falls can be fatal or cause serious injuries like a head injury, serious brain injury, spinal injuries, and broken bones.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are another of the most common workplace injuries. They occur when prolonged stress is placed on muscles, tendons and nerves, causing them to become inflamed and painful.

RSIs can be caused by many different types of work, including working on a computer or keyboard for extended periods of time.

Repetitive strain injuries are one of the most common types of workplace injuries that lead to long-term disability claims due to the fact that they can develop slowly over time without obvious symptoms until it becomes worse; meaning employers may not notice what’s happening until it’s too late for them to make changes.

Burns and scalds

Burns and scalds happen in the workplace more often than you might think. They can be caused by a variety of accidents, including:

  • Slipping on wet floors
  • Handling chemicals that are too hot or cold, especially if your skin is exposed (for example, when handling a chemical container in your hand)
  • Steam burns from boiling water coming into contact with your skin directly or through clothing or rain gear

Manual handling injuries

Manual handling injuries are among the most common workplace accidents. These types of injuries occur when you lift, carry, or move something that is too heavy or awkward.

Manual handling includes activities like lifting boxes, pushing carts and equipment, moving furniture and other materials around the office or warehouse floor—things that most people do on a regular basis during their jobs.

Injuries from using machinery or equipment

A large number of workers in the UK sustain injuries each year due to improper use of machinery or equipment.

Some common causes of these injuries include:

  • Incorrectly using the equipment (e.g. not following manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Using the equipment in a way it wasn’t intended for (e.g. using a table saw as a sander)
  • Maintaining faulty machinery or equipment, like not fixing damaged electrical cords or grease guns that don’t work properly

Stress and mental health issues

Stress is a normal response to a situation. It’s your body’s way of signaling that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. It can help you prioritise what needs attention and keep you focused on the task at hand, but too much stress can be harmful.

Stressors are things or situations that cause stress, such as:

  • Time pressures
  • Work overload/tasks not being completed in time
  • A lack of control over work processes or outcomes (this might also include having multiple managers)

If you’ve suffered an injury due to a workplace accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Your employer and the health and safety law

Health and safety law is a complex area. It’s important to understand how the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to you. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the government body responsible for making sure that employers comply with health and safety regulations.

The role of the HSE includes:

  • Inspecting workplaces
  • Issuing improvement notices to employers who fail to meet health and safety standards
  • Investigating accidents or near misses which result in injury or death, where they consider there has been a breach of legislation

The basic principle of this legislation is that employees have a right to be protected against risks while at work, otherwise known as ‘the duty of care’.

This means that your employer must take reasonable steps to make sure you don’t suffer harm while doing your job – for example:

  • By providing training about how dangerous an operation might be if not done properly
  • Providing appropriate equipment
  • Ensuring that tools are kept clean etc

Your employer also has an obligation under this law not only towards you, but also towards third parties such as visitors coming into contact with your work environment.

What are your rights if you’ve been injured at work?

If an accident happened at work and you were injured, or you develop an illness as a result of your work, you could be entitled to compensation, for example if you’ve suffered hearing loss, you could be eligible to make a hearing loss claim.

If the injury was caused by a hazardous substance in the workplace, for example, then you may be entitled to compensation under Part 2A of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

If your employer did not take reasonable steps to prevent the injury from happening, or if their negligence contributed towards causing it, then they may have been in breach of this part of their duty and may be held liable for any damages sustained by you as a result of their failure.

If you were injured by a dangerous act of another person (for example someone acting negligently while visiting your office), then they will also be liable for any damages sustained by you if they failed in their duty owed towards safeguarding against such acts occurring (and if these failures also contributed).

To claim compensation, you need to demonstrate that your employer was negligent in causing your injury.

This means proving that:

  • That the workplace was unsafe – your employer failed to take steps that would have prevented the accident
  • That there were hazards in place – there was a risk of injury and this risk could have been avoided if they had taken the necessary precautions (e.g., installing safety guards)
  • Your employer was aware of the hazards but didn’t take all reasonable steps possible to prevent injury (or, at least, it wasn’t reasonable for them not do so)

Unfortunately, proving that you were injured by work-specific hazards can be complicated and often requires considerable evidence. But don’t let this put you off making a compensation claim.

Mental duty of care

Each employer has a duty to physically protect and ensure the safety of its employees. However this duty extends beyond physical injuries and includes mental and emotional injuries. This means that if you’re injured at work due to unsafe working conditions, your employer may be liable for your emotional distress.

If you’ve had an accident at work, a specialist personal injury solicitor will help guide you through the claims process and get you the maximum compensation you deserve.

Can I claim compensation for occupational illness or disease?

You may be able to claim compensation for occupational illness or disease if you develop a condition as a result of your job. This could be from something like inhaling smoke or chemicals on the job, but it can also be from toxic fumes like carbon monoxide.

How do you know if your illness or disease is work-related? The first thing to understand is what an occupational illness or disease is.

An occupational illness or disease is when your work environment has caused you to develop a medical condition that you wouldn’t have otherwise developed.

For example, if you work in a factory and suffer from breathing problems because of the chemicals used in your workplace. It may be that you have developed asthma or another respiratory illness as a result of your exposure to these chemicals. If this is the case, then you may be able to claim compensation for your injury.

It’s important to note the difference between an occupational illness or disease and a personal injury.

  • Personal injuries are things like slipping on stairs, or being hit by a car while crossing the road – things that happen outside of work hours.
  • An occupational illness or disease can be defined as any physical injury which occurs as a result of working conditions at work or on the way to work.

If you have been diagnosed with an occupational illness or disease, it is important to make a claim as soon as possible. Or as soon as possible after becoming aware of the illness or disease.

To find out whether you could make an work-related injury claim, get in touch with a legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.

How do I prove a work-related injury claim?

It is important that you report the incident which resulted in your injury as soon as possible. The sooner you report it, the more likely you are to get compensation for your injuries.

Gather evidence

The first thing you need to do is gather relevant evidence to support your claim.

And what evidence would this be? Well, there are four main types:

  • Evidence of injury
  • Evidence of negligence on the employer’s part
  • Evidence of loss suffered as a result of their actions or inactions
  • Evidence that you are unable to work due to your injuries (or are likely not going to be able to work again)

Speak to witnesses

You try to gather evidence about the incident from witnesses, if possible. You might want to ask for the names and contact details of any witnesses to the accident. Make sure you ask them if they are happy to be a witness, or if they prefer not to be involved in any way.

Write in your work’s accident book

Include your accident in your workplace accident book, or if there isn’t one, you can usually ask for one to be made.

The book should be kept in a place where employees can access it easily and sign it when they have recorded details of an accident.

You should note down any details regarding injuries caused by your accident at work immediately after they happen so that everything is recorded correctly. Keep copies of any medical reports so that they’re handy when needed too.

Visit your GP

Your GP is likely to be the first medical professional you visit after an accident at work, and your medical notes may be crucial when it comes time to making a claim.

A GP report can be used as evidence if you are claiming against your employer or another third party. Your GP will need to provide details of the injury that you sustained, and they’ll also need to state how long they thought it would take for you to recover from these injuries if they were not treated properly by them.

In order for this information to be useful in court, it should also include details about what other treatment was given (if any), along with any medication prescribed.

Take photographs

You will also need to gather photographic evidence of the cause of the injury and any visible after-effects of your injury, as well as submitting receipts for travel expenses to hospital, and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with the physical effects of your accident.

To find out more about whether you could make an work-related injury claim, get in touch with a legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.

What you can claim for following a workplace injury

If you sustain a workplace injury, you may be able to claim compensation.

Compensation is money that can help pay for any financial losses from the accident.

This could include:

  • Injuries sustained in the accident and any other losses not covered by insurance
  • Loss of earnings as a result of being off work and unable to earn money due to your injuries
  • Loss of amenity – for example, if you were unable to go on holiday because of your injuries

The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the type of workplace injury you have, how long it takes to heal, and what impact it has on your life.

What can be included in a personal injury claim against an employer?

The compensation for most personal injury claims will help cover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Care costs

Loss of income

If you are unable to work for an extended period of time, or if you are unable to perform your job as a result of the accident, then this is a cost that needs to be covered.

You can claim for loss of income if:

  • You cannot work at all
  • Your employer has reduced your wages or hours
  • You have been unable to work because of caring responsibilities

Medical expenses

In addition to compensation for lost earnings, you may also be able to claim for the cost of medical treatment and medication.

This includes:

  • The cost of any medical treatment you have received
  • The cost of any prescription medication you have been prescribed
  • Physiotherapy treatment (this is a form of exercise designed to improve your joints and muscles).

Additionally, if you have been injured in a way that prevents you from going about your daily life as normal (for example, if the injury has affected your ability to walk).

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering is the most common type of compensation claim. This is because it’s not a tangible thing, but rather a subjective experience that varies from person to person.

Pain and suffering can be physical or psychological; it can cover loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment, stress and depression.

Care costs

If your injury prevents you from doing things for yourself, then you will need to pay someone else to do them instead. You can claim the cost of that help in a personal injury compensation claim under care costs.

If your injury means that you are unable to look after yourself or get around without help, then it is likely that care costs will be payable as part of any settlement.

How much compensation can I claim?

The compensation amount you can claim for a work injury claim will depend on the nature of your accident and the severity of your injuries.

The most common types of injuries are soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, fractures, dislocations and burns.

The amount of compensation you can claim for an injury depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The severity of your injury
  • How long it takes you to recover from your injury
  • Whether or not this prevents you from working and how much it affects your ability to work in the future (if at all)

The more severe the injury, the higher the amount of compensation.

For example, a broken leg may attract a higher figure than a sprained ankle.

Similarly, the more permanent or long-term the effects of an accident are likely to be then again, so will be its impact on financial loss.

As a guide, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) has created compensation brackets to give you a better idea of your potential damages compensation:

  • Arm – Amputation – £96,160 to £109,650
  • Leg – Moderate – £27,760 to £39,200
  • Nose – Serious – £10,640 to £23,130

Personal injury claims compensation calculator

To ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, you can check what you might be eligible to claim using our personal injury claim calculator.

Our calculator allows you to input specific pieces of information regarding your injuries and the accident that caused them. It will then create an estimate on how much you could be owed in a personal injury claim.

What if I work in a high-risk industry?

If you work in a high-risk industry, such as construction or manufacturing, the chances of sustaining a serious injury are greater because of the nature of the work. But that doesn’t make you any less eligible to claim injury compensation if you’ve sustained a workplace injury.

Even if you work in a high risk industry, your employer still has a legal obligation to provide safe working conditions for its employees. If it fails in this duty and someone gets injured as a result of its failure, then they may make a successful workplace accident claim against their employer.

To find out whether you could make an work-related injury claim, get in touch with a legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.

Can I make a work claim on behalf of a loved one?

In the case of a loved one with a work-related injury, the procedure is broadly similar to the normal claims process.

If your loved one is unable to complete the claim form themselves, you can apply to be their litigation friend. A litigation friend is a person who acts on behalf of someone else.

To be the litigation friend, you need to fill in an application form and then send it off with copies of documents proving who you are and proving that your loved one has given you permission.

You must also be over 18 years old and living in the UK.

You will then become their ‘litigation friend’ – someone who has legal authority to act on their behalf for any work claims.

Can I be dismissed after an accident at work?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident and whether or not you suffered an injury, you may be able to claim unfair dismissal if you’re fired after an accident occurred at work.

Your employer must show that they had a reasonable business reason for sacking you, such as they had evidence that you were at fault in the accident.

Similarly, you might be able to claim discrimination if your employer treated you differently after an accident.

For example, if someone else was given more responsibility after being injured while you were not allowed to work overtime in case you got hurt again, then this could amount to discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Can I be sacked for claiming compensation against my employer?

You can’t be dismissed for claiming compensation against your employer.

However, if your employer has reasonable grounds to believe that you’ve committed gross misconduct as a result of your accident at work (for example, by deliberately injuring yourself), they may well take action against you under employment law.

Similarly, if your accident claim is related to your job and the investigation into it leads to evidence that would justify dismissal for gross misconduct (such as failing to report an injury) then this could lead directly or indirectly towards dismissal without notice.

Who pays for my compensation settlement?

Your employer will have employers liability insurance, and so your compensation award will come from your employer’s insurance company, not your employer’s purse.

How long does it take to file a work compensation claim?

How long it takes to file a personal injury claim depends on the type of claim, how clean cut the case is, and whether you settle out of court or not.

It can take longer if you don’t have all of the necessary documents or evidence and you need to make multiple applications for them in order to proceed with your case.

Can I claim for an accident at work that was my fault?

If you have been injured in an accident at work and it was your fault or partly your fault, you may still be eligible to claim compensation.

However, this can be very difficult if your injury was caused by your own negligence or that of a colleague, but it is possible.

In order to be successful, you have to prove that your employer was also neglectful in their duty of care towards you, and failed to provide a safe working environment and comply with their legal obligations.

To find out whether you could make an work-related injury claim, get in touch with a legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.

How long do you have to claim for an injury at work?

As stated in the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years from the date of your accident to make a claim for an injury at work. However, there are certain circumstances where this time limit can be extended.

If you’re incapacitated at the time of your accident, then you can file a claim up to three years after becoming fully recovered from your incapacity (unless it was caused by something other than your work).

If you don’t know about your injury or its cause until later on, then the time period may be extended until six months after you become aware of them (the same rule applies if a third party informs you).

What if my work accident compensation claim is late?

It is important to know the time limit for making a claim. The time limit is three years from the date of the injury, but it can be extended if you have been receiving payments from your employer or your insurer because of your injury.

If you make a late claim, then it may be possible to get some compensation paid out but not at full amount as there is no right to backdate it further than when you started receiving these payments.

It may take some time to do all this so it’s best to get advice early on in order to help speed up any legal action if appropriate – then hopefully you won’t need to wait too long before getting any compensation that might be owed.

Can I make a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act?

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is a law that allows dependants of someone who has died due to an accident to make a claim for compensation.

The act covers accidents that occurred before the law was introduced in 1976, as well as those which have happened since then.

The law applies to all types of accidents that result in death, including those caused by:

  • motor vehicles (cars, lorries and buses)
  • bicycles
  • trains

It also applies if someone dies because they were injured at work or while taking part in a hobby or sports activity.

You should note that even if you have already started receiving treatment for your injuries, it is important that your claim is made within three years of the incident itself under UK law (section 11(1) Limitation Act 1980).

Begin your no win no fee work injury compensation claim

If you believe you have a workplace accident claim to make for a work-related injury, get in touch today for free legal advice.

Speak for with a specialist legal advisor and if they believe you have a claim, they will pass you onto a personal injury solicitor who will deal with your case on a no win no fee basis.

To find out whether you could make an work-related injury claim, get in touch with a legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438.

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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