Workplace Accident Picture

Accidents at Work

Workplace accidents & Personal Injury Claims

It is an unfortunate fact that accidents can and do happen in the workplace. Nevertheless, while it is almost impossible to completely prevent them from happening, there is an expectation that reasonable steps will be taken to at least minimise the risk. If your employer fails to take such reasonable steps, and you suffer an injury as a result, then you may be able to claim compensation.

Common Types of Workplace Accidents

Most accidents at work warranting a compensation claim include injuries caused by:

  • Faulty equipment provided by your employer
  • Inadequate training
  • Unsafe system of work
  • Lack of protective equipment
  • Unsafe place of work

Employer’s Duty of Care

The relationship between employer and employee is a very important one, not least so where an accident in work that was not your fault causes you an injury. Your employer owes you a duty of care, and if they breach this duty causing you to suffer an injury, they may be liable to compensate you for your injuries.

It is important to understand that an employer’s legal obligation to provide for the safety of their employees is a general one. In other words, it is not enough for employers simply to provide you with the necessary tools and have the systems in place to allow you to perform your duties. In order to meet their legal obligations, they must also show you how to use them safely.

Employers should provide employees with adequate training, a safe working environment and proper equipment. Checks should be carried out on a regular basis and records of this should be kept together with risk assessment and health & safety inspection checks. Every employer must also have “Employers Liability Insurance”, although to be successful with your claim you have to prove that your employer was at fault.

Another important aspect of an employer’s duty to protect the safety of their employees is in its scope. Not only are employers under a duty to protect employees for suffering physical harm at work, but they must also shield employees, so far as is possible, from psychiatric harm, including stress. If an employer has been made aware that an employee is particularly vulnerable, and has not taken steps to account for this, then they could be held accountable through a personal injury claim.

Are employers legally responsible for every accident at work?

Generally speaking, it is an employer’s responsibility to provide a place and system of working for employees that is, by and large, safe. When incidents occur, barring very unusual circumstances, it will be for an employer to remedy any accident that takes place. However, there is a caveat to an employer’s duty in taking care of their employees’ safety. They are only obliged to provide a working environment that is in keeping with the standards of a ‘reasonable employer’. As mentioned above, your employer is not legally required to protect you from any and every kind of injury that could happen at work – that would be impossible. In determining whether or not you have a personal injury claim, it will be important to review your situation carefully and have this compared with standard practices in the industry in order to find out what is ‘reasonable’ behaviour in a particular case.

How much compensation for an accident at work?

The value of a personal injury claim is highly fact specific. While the law does accord a monetary value to different kinds of injury, the exact value that your claim could achieve will depend on your circumstances. Not only will the placement of your injuries be highly relevant to determining the value that your claim could be for, but also the impact of your injury on your life:

  • Injuries sustained to the head which cause brain damage or any loss of bodily function, causing a dramatic change in your life could attract tens of thousands of pounds in compensation, while mild trauma with good prospects for a full recovery will attract a lower award
  • If you have been involved in an accident that has damaged your spine then your compensation claim could be high: damage to the spine can result in sustained pain and indeed, in severe cases, paralysis. This, and the fact that there will likely need to be support systems in place to assist you in daily life, will heighten the value of your claim
  • Any injuries that amount to a loss of digits or limb will be significantly higher than those that result in minor muscle or soft tissue damage.

How can I be confident that my claim will succeed?

Personal injury claims for accidents at work can be incredibly complex matters to settle, requiring a thorough understanding of the applicable law and relevant procedure. Ultimately, in order for a claim to succeed, there must be convincing evidence to support your claim that (i) your employer failed to protect your safety; (ii) your employer’s failure caused you to be injured; and (iii) your employer had not acted reasonably in not shielding you from the likelihood of being injured.

It is impossible to determine on an abstract basis whether one personal injury claim is more likely to succeed than another. The strength of your claim can only be determined following a detailed review of the facts surrounding your accident, and an investigation into what evidence there is to support your compensation claim.

Contact our Workplace Accident Solicitors

HDP solicitors are a specialist team of personal injury lawyers who offer comprehensive legal advice and support in making compensation claims for accidents at work. Our team of lawyers work on a no-win-no-fee basis and pride themselves on being accessible to our clients, providing much needed guidance on navigating personal injury law and procedures. As members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, you can be rest assured that experts will handle your claim. If you would like to know more about the process of making a compensation claim following an accident at work, or would like to discuss a review of your circumstances, please contact our team by completing the online enquiry form or call us.

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