Can I Be Dismissed After An Accident At Work, Can I Claim Compensation? – How To Claim Compensation If You Are Sacked After A Work Accident?

Dismissed After Accident At Work
Dismissed After Accident At Work

Employees have the right to claim compensation if they are injured in an accident at work if the incident occurred through no fault of their own but rather through employer negligence or because a fellow worker’s error/misjudgement. For a lot of employees the fear of being dismissed after an accident at work means they are reluctant to file for compensation against an employer when it fact, they have a legal right to do so.

To find out more about being dismissed after an accident at work and whether you could be entitled to seek compensation by filing both an unfair dismissal and workplace injury claim, please click on the links below:

Accident at Work Statistics in the UK

A Health and Safety Executive report on accidents in the workplace established the following statistics:

 

accident at work

Reporting an Accident at Work is Essential

One of the most important things that you should do if you are injured in an accident at work, is to make sure there is an official report detailing both the incident and the injuries you sustained. This report is needed if you file for injury at work compensation from an employer. Specific accidents and “near misses” must by law be reported to RIDDOR.

Many businesses have accident report books and if this is the case where you work, you should make sure the incident is correctly recorded in the book. If your employer does not have an accident report book, you should either send them a personal email detailing your injuries and the workplace accident you were involved in or you could send your employer a registered letter with all the information relevant to the workplace accident that left you suffering from injuries.

If your injuries are such that you are unable to make the report, you should request that a fellow worker or someone else does this on your behalf. Reporting workplace accidents should be done as soon as it is feasibly possible. The more evidence you could provide that you were fired without a good and valid reason could entitle you to file not only an accident at work claim against your boss but an unfair dismissal claim too.

Was the Workplace Accident Reportable to RIDDOR?

There are specific workplace accidents as well as near misses (dangerous occurrences) and occupational diseases that must be reported by law to RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations – and it is up to your employer or the person in charge whose responsibility it is to do so. Should the accident or incident have occurred in Northern Ireland, the report must be sent to HSE NI.

An employer is also obliged under the law to hold a record of all “reportable injuries” that employees sustain when carrying out jobs they are tasked to do if they are off work for over 2 days as a result. This also applies to “dangerous occurrences” and diseases employees may contract in the workplace.

It is worth noting that any information relating to an injury sustained in a workplace accident that is reported to RIDDOR would not be sent to an insurance company which must be done by an employer separately. Should your employer have not done their legal duty to report the accident to the authorities, it would add further weight to your claim for compensation and your unfair dismissal claim too.

Was The Accident at Work Reported to The Department of Work and Pensions?

When you claim compensation after an accident at work that left you injured, was the claim reported to the Department of Work and Pensions. The CRU – Compensation Recovery Unit is part of the DWP and should your claim against an employer be successful, your employer’s liability insurance provider must refund the benefits you may have received due to your injuries and as a direct result of the workplace accident.

What Happens If I Had an Accident at Work But Didn’t Report it?

Many employers ask the question “I had an accident at work but didn’t report it, can I still claim? If there is no record of the accident at work in which you suffered injuries, you can still seek compensation from an employer although your case would not be as straight forward. With this said, if you sought medical attention, there would be a record of this whether you had to go to the Accident and Emergency of a local hospital or you were examined by your GP or other medical professional. Should any of these be the case, you would have an official medical record of the injuries you sustained which would include when and where the workplace accident occurred. In short, a medical report would add weight to your claim.

Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident at Work

You should always seek medical attention after an accident at work because even a more minor injury that you may suffer may seem innocuous at first but could turn into something a lot more serious a little later on. The medical report that a doctor produces detailing the extent of the injuries you sustained would be a key factor when it comes to calculating how much accident at work compensation you may receive in general damages in a successful claim against an employer.

Other Essential Steps to Take After an Accident at Work

If you are planning to claim benefits after being injured in a workplace accident, having a medical record of the injuries you sustained is essential. If you do not have an “official” report of your injuries, your employer could argue a different version of events.

If you feel that your working environment is unsafe, you have the right to get in touch with the Health and Safety Executive or your trade union representative if you are a member. You also have the right to remain off work until such time as it is safe for you to do so. If an employer objects, you should contact a solicitor who specialises in employment law before doing anything which includes resigning from your job.

Should your employer dismiss you following an accident at work that left you injured, you should contact a personal injury solicitor who would offer essential legal advice on whether you could file both an accident at work claim and an unfair dismissal claim against your employer. The reason being that without another “good and valid” reason for firing you other than the fact you were injured in a workplace accident, your employer would be acting unlawfully.

What to Avoid If You Are Dismissed After an Accident at Work

If your employer decides to dismiss you after an accident at work, there are specific things you must avoid doing which are as follows:

  • Do not sign anything that may be seen as an admission of liability – this could be deemed that you accept responsibility for the injuries you sustained in an accident at work. An unscrupulous employer may attempt to pressure you into signing a document by saying that if you do not, your job could be in jeopardy. However, should your claim go before a tribunal or it goes to court, a signed statement admitting liability may be disregarded

As previously mentioned, your employer must have a “good reason” for dismissing you after an accident at work with other factors coming into play which are as follows:

  • The length of time you were working with the company
  • Whether an employer gave you “correct warnings”
  • Your employment rights

All of the above would be taken into consideration when investigating a claim for unfair dismissal against an employer after an accident at work that left you injured.

I Had an Accident at Work, What Are My Rights?

The law in the UK makes an employer responsible for the health and safety of all employees, other staff and visitors to a work environment. As such, it is your employer’s duty to ensure that you are protected when you are working for them. Your boss must do whatever is reasonably possible to protect your health, safety and welfare when you they task you to carry out any work.

In short, an employer must by law protect you from anything that could be harmful to you by controlling the risk of injury in a workplace. This applies to work-related health issues too. Employers must carry out risk assessments on a regular basis to achieve this goal. They are also obliged to inform all members of staff of any risks, hazards and dangers in a workplace while at the same time explaining how workers and other people are protected.

An employer must also provide adequate training so that employees and other staff are made aware of how they must deal with any risks that are present in a work environment. Employers are obliged to consult you and your fellow workers on all health and safety issues whether this is done directly or by a “safety representative” appointed by trade union or the workforce.

Your boss is legally required to display the poster that is approved by HSE where it is clearly visible or they can provide you with a copy of the HSE approved leaflet Health and safety law as set out under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER).

Should you believe that you are being exposed to any risks and that your employer is ignoring their legal duty with regard to your health and safety, and you made them aware of this, you have the legal right to file a complaint to the Health & Safety Executive yourself.

Dismissed After Work Accident, Can I Take Legal Action Against My Employer?

As previously mentioned, your employer cannot dismiss you because you choose to seek compensation for injuries you sustained in an accident at work by filing a personal injury claim against them. Should your employer fire you without another “good” reason for doing so, they would be breaking the law. As such, you would have every right to seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in employment law who would provide essential advice on how best to proceed with an unfair dismissal claim.

Even if your employer insinuates that you may lose your job or be made redundant for seeking compensation after a workplace accident, this too would be acting unlawfully because it is against the law for an employer to threaten employees or to prevent them from seeking accident at work compensation if they are injured through no fault of their own while carrying out a job.

If your employer applies so much pressure that you cannot continue working and as such you hand in your resignation, this too could add to your case against an employer and could mean that you have a strong case to file a constructive dismissal claim.

If I Seek Compensation After an Accident at Work, Who Would be Informed of My Intentions?

If you are worried about who would be told of your intentions to seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against an employer, the only people who would be informed are the following:

  • Your employer
  • Your employer’s liability insurance provider

An employer would be told of any claim for compensation that is brought against them by the solicitor who acts on your behalf when filing a personal injury claim or they could be told by their insurers. The insurance company would then begin their investigations into your claim by gathering all the relevant information and evidence so they can determine liability. However, if your employer denies responsibility, the solicitor who represents you would investigate whether this is so or not. As such, the more evidence and documentation pertaining to your claim that you can provide, the stronger your case against your employer would be.

What Level of Unfair Dismissal Compensation Would I Get if I Claim?

All employers in the UK must by law hold liability insurance to cover the cost of claims that are made by employees other staff and people who are injured through no fault of their own in the workplace. The insurance cover must meet the legal requirement and it must also cover any legal fees that arise from a claim against them for personal injuries suffered by staff and other people who may be visiting a work environment at the time the incident occurred.

If after you file for compensation for the workplace injury you sustained, your employer choose to fire you, it could mean you may be entitled to file an unfair dismissal claim against them. You could include the following in an unfair dismissal claim:

  • Basic award
  • Compensatory award

You would be entitled to receive a “basic award” if your case goes before a tribunal and  it was ruled that you were unfairly dismissed by your employer. The compensation you would get is made up as follows:

  • The fixed sum you receive is calculated to what is referred to as a “statutory formula”

The amount you get would depend on several factors which includes the following:

  • Your length of service for an employer up to the date you were fired
  • Your age at the time of your dismissal
  • How much you receive in pay every week (before tax and national insurance is deducted) which is referred to as “gross weekly pay”

To work out your length of service with the same employer if a tribunal decides you were unfairly dismissed from your job, you need to do the following:

  • Count backwards from the date you were dismissed to the time you began working for an employer to determine how many years you were with them – an example being if you were fired on the 16th May 2018 and you began working for an employer on 15th May 2016, you would have completed 2 full years in the same job
  • You would then need to calculate how much you received in pay for the full years you worked for the same employer – bearing in mind the cap on the amount of years you can include is set at 20 years with the same employer

Should you have work regular hours for the same employer for at least 2 years, calculating a basic award can be achieved on the Gov.uk website – this is the same amount as you would get in statutory redundancy pay.

To work out how much a “basic award” would add up to, you need to do the following by adding the amounts together:

  • 1 ½ week’s pay for every full year of employment if you are 41 years old or over
  • 1 week’s pay for every full year of employment if you are between 22 and 40 years old (inclusive)
  • ½ week’s pay for every full year of employment if you are under the age of 22

You would not typically receive a “basic award” if you have worked for less that one full year for the same employer and should you not work regular hours, you could contact your local Citizens Advice for guidance. With this said, there are specific instances where you may receive a “set” minimum basic award but this would only apply to your case if you worked as either a trade union or health and safety representative and you were unfairly dismissed from your job by an employer.

It is also worth noting that there is a “set” maximum weekly wage that you are allowed to calculate in a basic award which is as follows:

  • Should your gross weekly pay be over £525, you would only be allowed to claim a maximum of £525 per week

This applies to cases were employees were unfairly dismissed either on or after 6th April 2019. If you were unfairly fire on or after 6th April 2018, the cap is set at £508.

When it comes to a “compensatory award” you may receive if a tribunal rules you were unfairly dismissed by an employer, this would be as a way to compensate you for any loss of money you incurred as a direct result of having lost your job.

To calculate the amount of compensatory award you may receive you need to do the following:

  • Work out the amount of money you lost as a direct result of having been unfairly dismissed from your job
  • Should you not have found a new job, you need to figure out how long you could be compensated for bearing in mind that a tribunal would require proof that you have been attempting to find another job so that you limit the amount of money you have lost
  • Add in an amount that it would take you 2 years of employment in a new job to earn the right to claim unfair dismissal which is referred to as “compensation for your loss of statutory rights”
  • Check to see if for any reason your compensation should be “reduced” – this could be because a tribunal found that you were partly responsible for having been dismissed from your job or because you failed to attend dismissal or disciplinary meeting due to being too sick to work
  • Check to see if there is any reason for your compensation to be increased – an example being because your employer failed to follow the correct procedure prior to dismissing you or because an employer failed to provide you with a written statement relating to your terms of employment
  • Check to see if your compensation could be below the “cap” relating to compensation payments which is the maximum that can be paid in unfair dismissal claims
  • Check to see if you have received any benefits since you were dismissed from your job – these would be deducted from the compensation award you receive

Getting Legal Advice if You are Dismissed After an Accident at Work

Personal injury claims can be complex and if you were dismissed after an accident at work, including an “unfair dismissal” claim in a suit against an employer can make the process even more complicated. As such, it is wiser to seek legal advice from an experienced accident at work lawyer who also specialises in employment law. It is important to get all the information, documentation and evidence required to prove both claims correct from the outset to avoid delays or your claims being rejected.

A personal injury lawyer would respect the 3 year time limit associated with these types of claims and have vast experience when it comes to “pre-action protocols” that must be followed. This alone can help speed up what is often a lengthy legal process. On top of this, a solicitor once happy your case is strong against an employer, would agree to represent you without requesting that you pay a retainer or upfront fee by signing a No Win No Fee agreement with you.

This means you would not have to find the money for the solicitor to begin investigations into your accident at work claim and your unfair dismissal claim against your employer. There would be no ongoing fees to find as both claims progress either. The only time you would have to pay the agreed percentage as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement would be when you receive your personal injury compensation and a tribunal rules that you should receive unfair dismissal compensation too.

Informative Links

If you would like to find out more about unfair dismissal and what your rights are if you are fired after an accident at work, please follow the link below:

More about unfair dismissal and your rights

If you would like more information relating to basic and compensatory awards, please click on the link below:

More about basic and compensatory awards