Injured in a work accident?

Photo by: Emrys2If you are involved in an accident at work which causes a personal injury, or if you have contracted an industrial illness through the work that you do, you may be entitled to make a no win no fee claim for compensation.

All employers have a legal responsibility to provide employees with a safe and secure workplace. This responsibility includes providing adequate equipment and materials, providing competent co-workers, providing a safe system of work and providing proper training and supervision.

If you are injured in the workplace, or at any point whilst carrying out your employment duties, you should always ensure that the accident is reported. Most companies should have an accident book to record such incidents. This will not only act as evidence that the accident occurred if you decide to pursue a compensation claim, but may also help your employer to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

As accidents at work are common, your employer must have insurance to cover any compensation claims that are made against them by employees who are injured at work.  This is known as Employers Liability Insurance. Compensation awarded following a work accident claim is paid by your employer’s insurance company – it is not paid directly out of your employer’s pockets.

Types of Accidents at Work

Below are some examples of accidents in the workplace and some information on some of the common questions and concerns regarding accident claims.

Lifting/manual handling injuries

Lifting injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained by people in the workplace. Lifting and manual handling injuries can occur whenever your job involves some form of lifting. Therefore whether you work on a building site, in a school, in a shop, in an office or a factory, you could be at risk of injury due to lifting at work.

In order to protect you against the risk of lifting injuries at work, your employer should provide you with manual handling and lifting training as part of your health and safety training. Whilst an employer cannot completely eliminate the risk of lifting accident at work, they can and should take steps to minimise the risks. If they fail to take such steps, they could be liable for an accident at work claim.

Lifting accidents at work can result in a number of different injuries. The most common lifting injury at work is back injury. Back injuries can cause serious problems which can take months or even years to heal. In some cases back injuries may even be permanent. Other common injuries caused by lifting at work may include neck pain, shoulder injuries and hernias.

Falls from height

The precise details of any fall from height accident will differ from case to case, but the basic principles remain the same. Any company has a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their staff and an accident at work represents a major failing in this obligation.

If you’re asked to work on a high ledge or the roof of a building then your employer should have gone to every possible length to make sure that you couldn’t fall and injure yourself – if you haven’t been fitted with the correct safety harness, for example, or a ladder which is built to stay upright no matter what the circumstances, then the resulting fall can be blamed firmly on your employer and the injuries you’ve suffered are their fault. Having fallen from height, the injuries you’ve received could be very severe – broken bones, severe bruising, whiplash, even spinal injuries leading to paralysis – and will therefore have a dramatically damaging effect upon your life.

Factory accidents

A factory will usually house a range of machinery which can present a significant risk of injury if the machinery is not maintained correctly, or if the machine operators are not provided with sufficient training. Depending on the type of work you are employed to do, working in a factory may also include lifting and manual handling. This therefore poses the risk of suffering a lifting injury, which again may give you grounds to make a factory injury compensation claim.

Industrial accident claims are seen fairly frequently in the UK because process, plant and machine operatives actually have one of the highest injury incident rates of all industries, at over 1.5%. Unfortunately industrial accidents are also responsible for a great many of the fatal injuries suffered in the workplace, presumably owing to the heavy machinery that employees have to work alongside. Again looking at 2009/2010, 34 of the 111 fatal accidents that occurred in UK workplaces that year were industrial accidents.

Manufacturing in particular is an industry that over-contributes to accidents at work. It accounts for 9% of employment in the UK but 16% of workplace injuries. The recycling sector appears particularly dangerous for employees, along with working with wood.

Although the picture does seem to be improving, with over a 50% reduction in factory accidents since 1982, manufacturing injuries continue to occur all too frequently within the British workforce and are the basis for many industrial accident compensation claims.

Construction site accidents

It’s pretty obvious even to the untrained eye that construction sites are pretty dangerous places. Heavy machinery, dangerous plant and goods being shifted around all represent significant risks and that’s why construction sites have to have such rigid rules regarding safety equipment and procedures. Occasionally, however, no matter how strict these rules are, accidents will happen on construction sites, and when they do they can result in serious injury. If you’ve been injured in such an accident, and you feel that the accident happened due to the negligence of your employer or fellow workers, then you may be in a position to pursue a claim for construction accident compensation.

In order to receive compensation it’s necessary to demonstrate two things. The first is that the accident in question happened as a result of your employer’s negligence. The more information you bring to us following the accident, the more easily we’ll be able to do this. It will help immeasurably if you can make note of the date, time and precise circumstances of the construction accident, alongside the names and details of any eyewitnesses who can provide more details. Your workplace should have an accident book in which the details of any such incidents are noted, and you should also keep the details of any medical treatment you seek in the immediate aftermath of the accident, together with any ambulance people or medics who visit the scene.

Once it’s been established that the accident was a result of negligence, your solicitor will try to make it plain that you have suffered long term personal injury as a result. The amount of construction accident compensation you are likely to receive will depend upon the precise details of your accident, the part of your body which has been injured and the severity of this injury.

Warehouse Accidents

Have you been the victim of a warehouse accident? Perhaps some of the stock from a high shelf has fallen and hit you on its way down, or some litter left on the floor became tangled around your feet, causing you to fall and land awkwardly. Whatever the circumstances, it’s the duty of the warehouse owner to maintain a safe environment for customers and staff alike, so whether you’re working or shopping in the warehouse, you have every right to make a claim for warehouse injury compensation if you fall victim to an accident.

Accidents at work caused by unsuitable equipment or materials

If you are involved in an accident at work which is caused by unsuitable equipment or materials, you may be entitled to make a work injury compensation claim for any personal injuries that you suffer.  Even if your accident is caused by faulty equipment, materials or machinery supplied by another company, the responsibility for ensuring that they are safe for you to use and that you are adequately trained to use them will usually remain with your employer.

Accidents at work caused by unsafe system of work or lack of proper training

Your employer has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that you are able to carry out your work duties in a safe way in order to avoid any inherent dangers. For example, if your work involves a lot of heavy lifting, your employer should provide training so you are aware of the correct way to lift items in a way which minimises the risk of suffering a lifting accident at work. If you are not provided such training, and suffer an injury as a result, you could be able to make a no win no fee work accident compensation claim.

Accidents at work caused by incompetent staff

Your employer must ensure, to the best of their ability, that the people they employ are competent in their jobs and do not put other people in the workplace at risk by their actions. Therefore if you are injured at work due to something a fellow employee did, or did not do, your employer is potentially liable for those actions.

Common Work Accident Questions

Below are some common questions relating to the process of making an accident at work personal injury claim.

I was injured in a workplace accident, can I claim?

There are two things which have to be in place in order for a successful claim for workplace accident compensation to be pursued. Firstly, the accident has to have been caused by the negligence of another. It could be that the correct health and safety steps haven’t been taken – floors may have been left wet, wires and cables trailing where they can be tripped over, or safety equipment not applied correctly. It should also be remembered that workplace injuries can take place over a prolonged period of time, with poor conditions resulting in the likes of tinnitus, breathing problems and vibration white finger.

The second factor is that the accident in question has to have resulted in an injury or long term condition. If you feel this may have been the case, then call us FREE on 0800 234 6438 and discuss your circumstances with one of our trained advisers. The more details you can come to us with, the better we’ll be able to evaluate your potential claim, and so it will be helpful to make a note of details such as:

  • Eyewitness accounts.
  • Any workplace accident book.
  • Doctors notes.
  • Records of any previous accidents which may have taken place at your employers.
  • A statement from any ambulance workers attending the scene.

How long do I have to make a work accident claim?

A work accident claim must be made within three years from the actual date of the accident. If at the time of the accident you are under the age of 18, the three year period would not start until the date you turn 18 years old. If your work related injury only became apparent at a later date after the accident, the three year period would begin on the date you became aware of the injury, rather than the date of the workplace accident.

If I make a compensation claim for an accident at work, who pays the compensation?

It is a legal requirement for your employer to have insurance cover, known as Employers Liability Insurance, to cover them in case of any work related accidents.  If your personal injury claim is successful, it is the company’s insurers who pay the compensation awarded, not your employer.

Can I get the sack for making a work accident claim?

An employer cannot legally dismiss an employee for making a compensation claim for an accident at work. Therefore if your employer did dismiss you on these grounds, it could be classed as unfair dismissal, which could entitle you to make a separate compensation claim through employment law.

Start your accident at work claim today

Give us a call on 0800 376 0139, or submit our simple online claim form and our trained personal injury lawyers will take all of your details and build a case on your behalf. Because we work on a no win no fee basis, you can pursue your claim for workplace accident compensation safe in the knowledge that there is no major financial risk to starting your claim.