Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence Compensation? – How To Sue Employer Guide

Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence
Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence

If you were injured in a workplace accident and you strongly believe that the incident could have been avoided if enough was done to keep you safe from harm, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the distress, pain and suffering you endured through no fault of your own. Your boss has a legal duty to make sure that a work environment is safe and that they have done their best to set in place necessary measures to achieve this goal.

 

To find out more about your employer’s responsibilities towards you and your right to sue an employer for negligence compensation following an accident at work, please read click on the links below:

What is the Definition of Employer Negligence?

If an employer fails to adhere to any Health and Safety Executive regulations and other UK laws that protect all employees and other workers, they would be deemed negligent in their “duty” to provide a work environment that is safe for everyone they employ to work in. Your employer could be held negligent for several reasons some of which are detailed below:

  • A failure to provide adequate and appropriate training which must include health and safety training with an end goal being to ensure that you and all your fellow workers are able to carry out the jobs you are tasked to do by an employer
  • A failure to maintain equipment, machinery and tools in good working order. Your employer is duty bound to service all tools, machinery and equipment you use in the workplace as per the manufacturers recommendations
  • The machinery, equipment or tools used in the workplace was defective/faulty
  • A failure to provide adequate training to use machinery, tools or equipment
  • A failure to ensure that a work environment is kept clean, clear of obstacles and not slippery or uneven
  • A failure to ensure that reasonable safety measures are in place to reduce the risk of employees and other staff developing work-related health issues
  • A failure to provide the correct and adequate personal protective equipment
  • A failure to erect adequate hazard signs in areas that are deemed more dangerous
  • A failure to ensure that an new employee was sufficiently trained to carry out jobs they are tasked to do
  • A failure to carry out adequate background checks on new employees which includes CRB checks when necessary

What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?

As previously mentioned, all employers in the UK are duty bound to adhere to health and safety regulations as well as other laws that protect employees and other workers while they are in their employment. Employees too must respect working practices and procedures as well as HSE regulations to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident at work or of developing a work-related health issue.

When referring to your employer’s duty of care towards you, it means that all reasonable steps must have been taken to do as much as feasibly possible to ensure that your well-being, safety and health are protected when you are at work. A responsible employer would show concern not only for your physical health but your mental well-being also which must not just be considered a “legal duty”, but good business sense too. This can help build trust within a workforce towards their employers and it also means that productivity improves due to an increase in employee engagement.

In short, not only does an employer have a legal duty towards you and your fellow workers but they also have an ethical and moral duty to ensure that everyone in their employment is kept safe from physical or psychological harm which they would achieve by ensuring the following:

  • That jobs workers are tasked to do are clearly and well-defined
  • That risk assessments are frequently carried out in a workplace
  • That adequate feedback on performance is provided
  • That employees and other staff are not working an excessive number of hours
  • That adequate rest areas are provided
  • That employees and other workers take regular rest breaks
  • That all employees and other staff are protected from harassment or bulling in the workplace
  • That all employees and other staff are protected from discrimination
  • That adequate channels are provided to employees and other staff so they can easily raise any concerns they may have
  • Ensuring that employees are consulted about anything that concerns them in a workplace

Should your employer fail to do any of the above and take other measures to keep you safe while you are at work, they would be deemed in breach of their legal duty. Should you be injured in an accident at work as a consequence, you would have the right to sue your employer by filing a personal injury claim against them.

What UK Laws Protect Me in the Workplace?

There are Health and Safety Regulations that must be respected as well as other UK laws that protect you when you are in the workplace. These are as follows:

Should your employer disregard any of the laws and legislation that protect you while you are in their employment and you sustain an injury as a direct result, you would have the right to sue your boss by filing a personal injury claim. This applies to whether you are a permanent employee or a temporary member of staff. The law  in the UK requires that your employer keeps you safe from harm while carrying out jobs for them whether onsite or offsite.

It is worth noting that you could sue your boss for a breach of Health and Safety Executive regulations. You could also file a personal injury claim against them if you are injured or develop a work-related health issue. Should this be the case, a Safety Inspector would typically investigate your claim against an employer to establish whether any breaches of HSE regulations were indeed committed.

Was The Accident at Work Injury You Sustained a Reportable Incident?

There are certain workplace incidents and occupational diseases as well as specific dangerous occurrences which are often referred to as “near misses” that must by law be reported to RIDDOR and your employer is duty bound to do this in a timely manner. These incidents must be reported to HSE NI if they occurred in Northern Ireland. The rules are as follows:

  • Your employer is duty bound to record a reportable injury
  • They must record any injury that results in employees and other workers having to take more than 7 days off work to recover
  • Work-related disease must be recorded
  • Dangerous occurrences must be recorded

If your employer is legally required to have an Accident Report Book in the workplace, under the Social Security Law, all accidents and injuries must be recorded in it. However, any incidents involving work-related diseases must be recorded separately.

It is worth noting that any information regarding accidents at work and work-related injuries that are reports to the Health and Safety Executive by RIDDOR would not be passed on to an employer’s liability insurance provider. As such, it is up to your boss to ensure that the information is provided to the insurance company in a timely manner.

Your Right to Sue Your Employer For Negligence Compensation

Providing a personal injury claim against an employer for negligence compensation meets the necessary criteria, you would have the right to sue them. The criteria that must be met is as follows:

  • That you did not cause the accident at work that left you injured. However, you may be deemed partly responsible for the injuries you sustained, in which case, contributory negligence would be attributed to both you and your employer and the amount of negligence compensation you may be awarded would factor in your level of responsibility – an example being that if you are held 25% responsible, the amount you receive in a successful personal injury claim would be 25% less than if your employer was deemed 100% liable for the workplace injuries you suffered
  • That the 3 year statutory time limit is respected which in short, means you have to file your claim before the deadline runs out or your claim could be “time barred”

Who Pays the Negligence Compensation Awarded After an Accident at Work?

All employers within the UK are legally obliged to have liability insurance and the policy must be issued by a recognised provider. There is also a legal threshold which must be met which is set at £5 million. If your employer does not have valid insurance cover, they would be liable to receive hefty fines from enforcing authorities.

As such, when you are awarded negligence compensation after an accident at work in which you suffered injuries, it is your employer’s insurance provider who pays out the amount you receive whether through a court ruling or in an out of court settlement. It is worth noting that the majority of personal injury claims – 95% – are settled prior to going before a judge.

You may find that your employer’s insurance provider offers a sum in compensation for the injuries you suffered before any request is submitted to them. Even if you feel the amount of negligence compensation offered is generous, you should never accept this initial amount before discussing a decision with a personal injury lawyer. The reason being that an experienced lawyer could well negotiate a much higher amount for you. Another thing to bear in mind is that in the “fine print” of the initial offer that is put on the table may state that having accepted the settlement, you would not have the right to seek further compensation for the injuries you sustained in the future.

Can My Employer Fire Me For Making a Negligence Claim?

Your employer cannot legally fire you after an accident at work and you decide to sue them for negligence compensation. Your boss must have another reason and it has to be a valid one for sacking you if you file a personal injury claim against them. If there is no other reason for showing you the door, you would have the right to file an unfair dismissal claim against your employer as well as a negligence claim. As such, you should discuss your case with an employment lawyer who would recommend on how best to proceed whether you feel you have to resign from your job or if you are fired by your employer.

What Level of Negligence Compensation Could I Get After an Accident at Work?

The level of negligence compensation you may be awarded would depend on the extent of the workplace injuries you sustained and how your life, both social and working, have been negatively impacted. Under the law, you would not only be entitled to receive compensation for the physical injuries you sustained in an accident at work but you would also receive compensation for the psychological damage you had to endure through no fault of your own as a result of your injuries.

Compensation for personal injury is calculated in two parts which are “general damages” and “special damages”. The general damages you would receive in a successful claim would be based on the injuries you sustained and would be calculated using the Judicial College Guidelines. However, the special damages you could receive would be based on the actual costs and expenses you incurred as a direct result of the workplace injuries you sustained and they would be added to the general damages you are awarded.

As previously mentioned, there is a statutory time limit to filing a personal injury claim which is set at 3 years from the date an injury was sustained. However, when the “time limit” begins can differ according to the circumstance surrounding an injury that was suffered in the workplace which is detailed as follows:

  • 3 years from when you are diagnosed as suffering from a medical condition that a doctor or other recognised medical professional has linked to the workplace injury you sustained
  • 3 years from the date of your 18th birthday should you have suffered your workplace injuries when you were under the age of 18

How Do I Sue My Employer for Negligence Compensation?

For your negligence compensation against an employer to be valid, you would need to have gathered as much proof that the accident at work in which you sustained your injuries could have been avoided. There is a procedure to follow prior to filing a negligence claim against your boss which is detailed below:

  • Try to resolve the issue with your employer directly
  • Make sure you are familiar with your company’s “grievance procedure” which would set out the steps to be take following an accident at work or how to approach your employer in order to voice any concerns you may have about your working conditions
  • If you are a member of a trade union, contact your representative for advice and assistance
  • Contact a personal injury solicitor if you don’t have any joy by following the company’s grievance procedure

Seeking legal advice sooner rather than later when filing a negligence claim against your employer can help you through what is often a complicated process that can be unnecessarily delayed if enough proof of negligence is not available from the outset.

What Advantages Would a Personal Injury Lawyer Provide in a Negligence Claim?

Negligence claims can often be long-drawn legal procedures and proving that an employer was in breach of their duty to keep you safe while in their employment could prove challenging. Should your boss deny liability for the injuries you sustained, it can make the process even more complex. A personal injury lawyer would have the expertise needed to investigate your claim and would quickly establish whether your employer could be held responsible through negligence for the injuries you suffered whilst in their employment.

Other benefits and advantages of working with a personal injury lawyer when filing a negligence claim against an employer would include but is not limited to the following:

  • The lawyer would offer you a free initial consultation to assess the strength of your negligence claim against your boss. You would be under no obligation to continue with a negligence claim should you not wish to
  • Once satisfied that you have a strong negligence claim against your boss, the lawyer would offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis meaning the only time you would have to pay the solicitor’s fees is when you receive the negligence compensation you seek. Should your claim not succeed, the solicitor’s fees would be waived because they signed the Conditional Fee Agreement with you
  • Solicitor can access much needed legal libraries which can be referenced when needed
  • All pre-action protocols would be respected which in itself can speed up what is often a lengthy legal process
  • You would be provided with essential advice when it comes to gathering the required evidence to prove your negligence claim against an employer
  • Should your case be complex and therefore a final settlement take longer to reach, the lawyer would ensure that you receive interim payments to help reduce any financial pressure you may be put under
  • You would be examined by an independent medical professional and the detailed report they produce on the injuries you sustained would be used to calculate the level of “general damages” you would receive in a successful negligence claim against your employer
  • Should your injuries lead to ongoing medical conditions, the lawyer would ensure that the cost of long-term therapies and treatments are included in the negligence compensation you receive

If you strongly believe that injuries you suffered in an accident at work could have been avoided if your employer had made sure the work environment was as safe as possible and you would like to seek negligence compensation from them, you should discuss your case with a personal injury solicitor who would recommend how best to proceed. It is essential to get things right from the outset so that employer liability can be proved without too much delay. A solicitor has the legal expertise required to prove negligence on the part of an employer which alone can help speed up what can be a complex, lengthy legal process. As such, the sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer, the sooner your negligence compensation claim could be settled.

Informative Links

If you would like more information about Health and Safety Executive regulations, please click on the following link:

More about Health and Safety Executive regulations in the workplace

To know more about your worker’s rights after an accident at work that could have been avoided, please follow the link below:

More about your worker’s rights after an accident at work

If you suffered injuries due to employer negligence and would like more information about pre-action protocols that must be respected when filing a personal injury claim, please follow the link below:

More information about pre-action protocols