Can I Claim Compensation For An Accident At Work?

Published: 20/03/2018

Our clients often tell us, “I’ve had an accident at work and don’t know what to do about it!” Usually followed by the word, “help!”

If you work for somebody else, it is important to be aware of what to immediately do if you are injured at work.

As such, this article is essential reading for most of the UK population!

Let’s begin…

What is counted as an accident at work?

Common workplace injuries include:

  • Injuries caused due to excessive manual handling
  • Injuries sustained due to defective/unsafe work equipment (including equipment and machinery)
  • Injuries caused due to a lack of training or supervision
  • Slipping or tripping at your place of work
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances

Health and safety complaints can also arise from:

  • Temperature (both minimum and maximum)
  • Lighting
  • Workstation set-ups (computer screens, chairs, etc.)

What should I do if I’ve had an accident at work?

First thing’s first, you must report your accident to your employer as soon as possible. Make sure your boss reports the accident in their accident book. If they fail to do this, or if there isn’t an accident book at your workplace (e.g. because your workplace is very small), write down the details of the accident and send it to your boss right away (e.g. via email), keeping a copy for yourself. If you are poorly and cannot report the accident to your employer directly, ask someone else to do it for you, such as a trusted colleague.

It is important to firstly, keep yourself safe, and secondly, gather any evidence relevant to your accident. Even if your injury or illness doesn’t seem serious, you must visit your GP. Remember that trauma can initially mask pain. The doctor can record the medical details of your accident. Ask for a copy and proof of your appointment (e.g. a stamped appointment slip). These documents will be essential later, if you need to claim compensation or benefits (e.g. industrial injury benefits).

Keep these documents, as well as the details of the accident as reported to your employer, in a safe place just in case you require them later.

Other evidence you can collect includes:

  • Contact details of any witnesses to your accident (e.g. co-workers)
  • Photographs of the accident scene (taken with your smartphone is fine). For example, if you slip and fall due to a defect in your workplace, your employer may fix the defect before you are able to make a claim for accident compensation, and this evidence will be gone
  • A full record of any expenses you incur as a result of your accident, such as the cost of medical treatment, travel involved in obtaining medical treatment, and costs incurred by your family travelling to visit you while you recover

In order to make a successful personal injury claim and receive compensation, you must be able to prove the following:

  1. Your injuries were caused as a result of that particular accident
  2. The accident was caused because of somebody else’s negligence or mistake

How do I claim compensation for my accident?

If you think you are entitled to compensation due to your workplace accident, you should contact a reputable personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. Without good legal representation, it is very unlikely you will win a case.

Factors that can help you choose the right solicitor for you might include: experience (how long has the solicitor or firm been established), reviews and previous client feedback (Solicitor.Info is a good source as this is the official Google partner for solicitor reviews) and the specifics of the service offered (e.g. you may prefer a firm that has a good online portal, so you can easily communicate with your case handler without needing to phone them all the time).

At GWlegal, we have more than 30 years’ legal experience, a 5-star rating on Solicitor.Info and our GWaccount means you can follow the progress of your case, 24-7, online. Another benefit of choosing GWlegal is that you will be assigned a dedicated case handler, so you’ll always know who is looking after your claim. GW’s ‘no win, no fee’* service may also appeal to you.

Things to remember

  • Always tell the truth about your accident (Read our article about How One Lie Can Ruin Your Entire PI Claim here
  • Do not exaggerate your injuries or the seriousness of your accident, a judge is not stupid and you could jeopardise your case and receive no compensation at all!
  • There are strict time limits on making a claim (usually three years). If you wish to lodge a claim for compensation, do so as soon as possible.

If I win compensation, what will the money cover?

Compensation is designed to cover the cost of your medical bills and any related costs including future expenses and lost wages plus generally provide damages for your pain and suffering.

If you are genuinely injured in an accident that isn’t your fault, you are entitled to this under the law! Access to justice is a basic human right and valued by all UK courts. There is no shame is making a claim.

Will I get paid while I’m off work?

In most cases, if you need time off because of an accident at work, you'll only have the right to Statutory Sick Pay. Your employer may have a scheme for paying more for time off caused by accidents, or may decide to pay extra depending on what has happened.

Again, if you are successful in claiming compensation, the damages you receive will cover any lost income.

Should I return to work after my accident?

You can return to work once you feel recovered or well enough. Your GP can advise.

Following your accident, you might observe that the conditions at your workplace are still unsafe. If so, you can talk to your trade union or contact your workplace’s Health and Safety Executive. HR should be able to point you in the right direction. You have the right to leave work until the immediate danger is fixed, if you feel like you are in serious and immediate danger. The law recognises your right to protect yourself.

If you’re feeling able to return to work but with lighter duties or fewer hours, speak to your doctor or employer, who should be able to accomodate you.

If your accident has caused you long-term injury, your employer may have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you get back to work. Seek the advice of your personal injury solicitor.

If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with Adele Whittle and her personal injury team today on 0345 373 3737

*exceptions may apply

GWlegal is a personal injury solicitors based in Liverpool, specialising in road traffic accidents, cycling accidents, accidents at work, accidents in a public place and serious injury claims.

If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0345 373 3737 or email us with your question.

Who are GWlegal? We’re a national firm with local values.

How can we help you with your personal injury claim?

Click here to find out

Content correct at time of publication.

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