The law in the UK prevents an employer from dismissing you because choose to claim compensation from them after an accident at work that left you suffering with an injury or a health issue. If you are sacked it could mean that your employer is in breach of the law and as such, you could be entitled to seek compensation from them by filing an unfair dismissal claim.
In short, not only could you file an accident at work claim, but having been dismissed after an accident at work, you could also file an unfair dismissal claim too.
What is the Procedure to Follow After an Accident at Work?
If you are injured in an accident at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention whether from a designated first-aider or at the Accident and Emergency department of your local hospital. If your injuries permit, you should make sure that the incident is correctly recorded in the work’s Accident Book ensuring that the injuries you sustained are included too.
Some businesses do not have Accident Books, in which case you should send either a registered letter or a personal email to your employer that provides details of the workplace accident and the injuries you suffered. You should always keep copies of your correspondence with your boss for your own records which would be required as evidence in support of your accident at work claim.
On top of ensuring there is an official record of the workplace accident in which you were injured, you should do the following:
- Check to see if the incident was reportable to the Health and Safety Executive
- Get witness statements together with their contact details
- Take photos of where the workplace accident occurred
- Take photos of the injuries you suffered
- If available request CCTV footage of the incident which an employer must respect and give to you in a timely manner
- Make sure you have a detailed medical report of the injuries you suffered which should include minor symptoms, these may turn into a more serious health issue further down the line
The rule of thumb is that the more evidence you can provide that an accident at work in which you were injured occurred through no fault of your own but through employer negligence or the error of a work colleague, the stronger you claim would be if your employer chooses to dismiss you because you seek compensation from them. It is also worth noting that a solicitor would agree to offer you No Win No Fee terms if you have enough evidence to support a claim.
What You Should Avoid Doing if An Employer Dismisses You Following an Accident at Work
You may find that your employer asks you to sign something that would work in their favour should you want to seek compensation for them. This could be a document which says that you accept responsibility for the injuries you sustained or that they were not negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm and injury.
You should never sign anything without first discussing things with a legal expert. The reason being that should you agree to sign any sort of admission that you could be responsible for the injuries you suffered, it may adversely affect your “right” to seek compensation after an accident at work. However, it is worth noting that even if your employer insists that you sign something which states that you admit liability, a court may disregard it because a judge may deem that you were forced to sign the document by an employer.
If you are being pressured in any way by an employer because you want to seek compensation for a workplace injury, you should contact an accident at work lawyer because your employer would be acting unlawfully towards you. As such, it may entitle you to seek further compensation from them which would include an unfair dismissal claim and/or a detriment claim.
Do I Have Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
By law, you have rights in the workplace which includes if you are injured in a accident. These rights are detailed below:
- You have the right to seek compensation if you are injured in a workplace accident or you develop a work-related health issue
- You have the right to seek medical attention
- That your employer cannot dismiss you after an accident at work because you file a claim for compensation against them
Should an employer object to you seeking compensation after an accident at work, or they threaten you in any way which includes with redundancy or the sack, they would be acting unlawfully and as such you could take legal action against them. If this be the case, you should discuss your case with a legal expert who would assess your claims in a no obligation, free, initial consultation before offering essential guidance on how best to proceed when it comes to pursuing legal action against your employer.
Does My Employer Have Responsibilities Towards me At Work?
As previously mentioned, there are laws and legislation that protect employees and other workers in the UK. Your employer is legally obliged to follow these laws so that you are kept safe from harm and injury whilst at work. Should an employer choose to ignore or they fail to implement any legislation in the workplace and as a result you are injured, they would be in breach of the law. As such, you have the “right” to pursue an accident at work against your employer without worrying that you could lose your job for doing so.
Your employer must do the following to reduce the risk of you being injured while you are at work:
- That you were given appropriated and adequate training to carry out a job safely
- That you were given ongoing training on an ongoing basis
- That new employees are correctly trained to carry out work they are tasked to do
- That machinery, tools and equipment that you use is properly maintained in good working order
- That risk assessments are done in a workplace on a regular basis with an end goal being to identity risks and hazards
- That all reasonable measures are set in place to reduce the risk of workplace accidents occurring
- That you are provided with appropriate industry standard personal protective equipment so that you can carry out a job safely
- That you are told about working practices and procedures
- That you are made aware of the protocols to follow if you are involved in an accident at work
Should you be injured in a workplace accident because your employer failed to keep you safe, they would have failed in their “duty” and if they then choose to dismiss you because you seek compensation from them, you should discuss things with a legal expert before doing anything else. Ideally you should not resign from a job or sign anything that an employer asks you to do without first discussing what you must do with a solicitor.
What Can I Include in My Accident at Work and Unfair Dismissal Claim?
You are allowed to include general and special damages in an accident at work claim and/or an unfair dismissal claim against your employer. This would be to compensate you for the injuries you sustained and all your out of pocket expenses providing they can be linked to the injuries you suffered in a workplace accident.
- General damages are awarded to compensate a person for the distress, loss of amenity, pain and suffering they endured
- Special damages are awarded to compensate an injured employee or other worker for the expenses and other costs they had to pay out because they were involved in an accident at work. Special damages cover travel costs, medical expenses and all other costs that can be directly linked to the injuries sustained. Should the injuries you suffered prevent you from working, special damages would cover your loss of earnings and any future earnings if you cannot work again
It is very important to keep all your receipts because these would be required to support any costs you had to pay out and because special damages are calculated on “actual expenses”, you must provide evidence of your expenditure. If you do not have all the receipts you may find that the level of special damages you receive would not cover the actual amount you had to pay out.
Is There a Time Limit to Making Any Sort of Workplace Injury Claim Against an Employer?
There is a 3 year time limit for making an accident at work claim which begins at different times as detailed below:
- The time limit of 3 years starts from the date you were injured in a workplace accident
- The time limit of 3 years begins from the date you were diagnosed as suffering from a medical issue that a doctor can link to the injuries you sustained in an accident at work. This can be a lot later than when the workplace incident occurred which is why medical reports and other evidence is so important when you are injured in a workplace accident
- The time limit starts from the day you turn 18 if the workplace accident happened before you were 18 years old. With this said, you are not obliged to wait until you turn 18 to file an accident at work claim. In fact, it is better to make a claim as early as possible when everything is still fresh in people’s minds and this includes witnesses
It is worth noting that the sooner a claim can be bought against an employer for both an accident at work claim and an unfair dismissal claim, the sooner all the necessary evidence can be gathered and the sooner a settlement can be reached by your employer’s liability insurance provider or by a judge should your case go to court.
Are There Any Benefits To Working With a Solicitor If I Am Dismissed After Accident at Work?
There are many advantages and benefits to having legal representation if you are dismissed after an accident at work and you want to claim compensation. The reason being that a legal expert knows what kind of evidence is required to support your unfair dismissal claim and they have vast experience when it comes to corresponding with liability insurance providers who handle accident at work claims on the behalf of employers.
Other benefits that an accident at work lawyer would bring to the table when making an accident at work claim against an employer includes but is not limited to the following:
- Accident at work lawyers are able to access legal libraries which permits them to refer to past cases which they can then base your claim on and this includes the amount of workplace accident compensation you may be awarded
- The solicitor you contact would offer No Win No Fee terms once they are satisfied that you have a strong claim against an employer both for an accident at work claim and an unfair dismissal claim
- The solicitor would inform you at the earliest opportunity of the level of compensation you may be awarded should your claims succeed whether through the courts or in an out of court settlement with the majority of claims being settled in this manner
- If your employer chooses to challenge your claim, the solicitor would work hard to get them to admit liability for the workplace injuries you sustained
- The solicitor would ensure that your injuries are examined by an independent medical professional and their detailed report would be used as a basis for the level of both accident at work compensation and unfair dismissal compensation you could be awarded
- If you suffered severe injuries and your employer dismissed you, the solicitor who represents you would ensure that the cost of any ongoing treatment or therapy that you require would be included in the settlement you are awarded
These are just some of the benefits of having a solicitor represent you on both an unfair dismissal claim and an accident at work claim for compensation against an employer. Accident at work claims can be complex more especially if the injuries you suffered are serious. As such, starting a claim sooner rather than later is always a wise decision because gathering all the medical evidence required to support a claim can take time and it is important to get things right. Any mistakes could result in unnecessary delays and it could even see an employer disputing a claim even though they were at “fault” or negligent in their duty to keep you safe whilst in their employment.
Would a Solicitor Offer No Win No Fee Terms if I File an Accident at Work Claim?
Accident at work lawyers are always open to working with you on a No Win No Fee basis providing your claim is valid and meets the necessary criteria as listed below:
- That you suffered an injury in an accident at work in the last three years and that you are filing a claim before the time limit has run out or is about to run out
- That the accident happened through no fault of your own – bearing in mind that even if you are partly responsible, you can still file a contributory negligence claim against an employer
- That you have sufficient evidence to support an accident at work claim
- That you followed the necessary protocols as laid out by an employer following the workplace accident in which you were injured
Once a solicitor is happy that you have a strong claim against your boss and that your case stands a good chance of success, they would represent you by offering to work on your claim without requesting a retainer. No Win No Fee terms also means that you would not have to pay a solicitor any ongoing fees as your accident at work progresses.
The only time that a No Win No Fee solicitor would need to be paid, is when you are awarded the amount of accident at work compensation you sought and this amount would be taken directly from the money you receive. Should for any reason your case in unsuccessful, the agreed fee as set out in the No Win No Fee agreement would not have to be paid but would rather be waived.
If you need more information on the laws that protect you in the workplace which an employer must respect, please follow the link that is provided below:
To find out more about the time limit associated with accident at work claims for injuries you sustained prior to your 18th birthday, please follow the link below:
If you are a member of a trade union and need support/advice following an accident at work, please follow the link below: