Accident at work claims can be complicated legal processes that can take time to settle. With this said, it would depend on the circumstances surrounding your claim as to how long you would have to wait to receive personal injury compensation having suffered an injury in the workplace. If your injuries are extremely severe and you would require ongoing, long-term therapeutic treatment, it could mean that your case is complex and as such reaching a final settlement could take longer. There are, however, other factors that could make reaching a final agreement on the amount of accident at work compensation you may be entitled to.
To find out how long does an accident at work claim take to settle, please click on the links below:
- Establishing Liability if Injured in an Accident at Work
- What Evidence is Needed to Prove Employer Liability for an Accident at Work?
- What is the Personal Injury Claim Process?
- The Complexity of an Accident at Work Claim Can Lengthen the Time to Settle
- What Can Be Included in an Accident at Work Claim?
- What is the Ministry of Justice Streamlined Process Settlements?
- Are There Different Types of Settlements in Accident at Work Claims?
- What Are the Main Factors Involved in the Time it Takes to Settle Accident at Work Claims?
- Is There a Time Limit Associated with Accident at Work Claims?
- Should I Seek Legal Advice From a Personal Injury Solicitor
- Informative Links
You could be injured in an number of ways in the workplace, whether you slip, trip and fall, an item falls on you because it has been incorrectly stacked, you got injured when manual handling products or you may have come into contact with moving machinery. You may have been using equipment and suffered an injury, or you could have come into contact with hazardous substances.
Whatever caused your injuries in the workplace, proving liability is one of the key factors when it comes to seeking compensation. The responsibility could fall to an employer more especially if they failed to set in place safety measures in a work environment which they are legally required to do under the Health and Safety at Work Act. However, there are other reasons why an employer could be deemed liable some of which are detailed below:
- A failure to train employees adequately and to provide routine ongoing training
- A failure to ensure that new staff are sufficiently trained to carry out jobs safely
- A failure to provide industry-standard personal protective equipment to all employees and other staff
- A failure to set in place hazard signage in areas that are known to present dangers to staff and other employees – an example being a loading bay
- A failure to notify employees and other staff of any hazards that may be present in the work environment
You may find that your employer admits liability from the outset, but then their liability insurance provider convinces them to change their minds. If an employer accepts responsibility for the injuries you sustained in the workplace, the process of filing a personal injury claim is typically quite straight forward. However, should your employer deny they are liable, it can mean the process becomes more complex and therefore takes longer to reach an agreed settlement should your claim go forward.
Having a personal injury lawyer work on your claim from the outset would help speed up the process of establishing who could be deemed liable for the injuries you sustained. Once a lawyer has determined that you have a strong claim against your employer, they would offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis which means they can begin their investigations sooner rather than later without having to request that you pay an upfront fee.
A personal injury solicitor once satisfied that your case against an employer is strong enough to win would start their investigations to establish liability. As such, they would require that you provide the following:
- Witness statements and their contact details
- If available CCTV footage of the incident which you are entitled to request and which an employer must provide in a timely manner
- Medical reports of the workplace injuries you sustained
- Photos of where the accident occurred and of the injuries you suffered
The more evidence you can provide, the stronger a claim would be and the sooner you can provide it, the quicker a case would be able to move forward. With this said, discussions between your employer’s insurers and your own personal injury lawyer could be resolved quickly or they may take longer to be agreed upon. If the latter should apply to your case, it may mean the process could take longer to reach a settlement.
The two main factors that are key to the length of time an accident at work claim may take to settle are as follows:
- Establishing liability for the accident at work that left you injured
- The medical evidence detailing the extent of the injuries you sustained
You would need to prove that the injury you sustained occurred at work which can be achieved by providing a medical report. However, should your injuries be severe, you may need several medical reports or you may need specific therapy before a final comprehensive report can be provided by a qualified medical professional. Should this be the case, it could mean that the process is lengthier than a less complicated accident at work claim would be to reach a final and acceptable settlement.
A personal injury solicitor would recommend that you wait until you have made a full recovery or received a detailed medical prognosis before accepting an initial settlement from your employer’s liability insurance provider. The lawyer who represents you would ensure that you are examined by an independent medical expert who would provide a detailed report on the injuries you sustained in the workplace. This report would include a prognosis whether you would make a full recovery or if your injuries are such that they negatively impact your health and future life.
It is important for all the medical evidence to be assessed prior to accepting a settlement because once you accept compensation for injuries sustained in an accident at work, you would not be able to seek further compensation at a later date. Accepting a settlement would have been done on a “full and final” basis which could mean that you run the risk of “under-settling” an accident at work claim against an employer should you accept any compensation beforehand.
Should your accident at work claim be complex and the injuries you sustained severe or life-changing, the longer it would take to reach a settlement. The reason being that gathering the necessary medical evidence can extend the time-frame. You may find that your employer’s insurers insist on appointing their own chosen medical professionals who would assess the extent of the workplace injuries you sustained which could add time to the process.
Should your case be complicated, a personal injury lawyer would request that you receive interim payments as a way of assisting your financially until a final settlement is agreed. Interim payments are “advances” which are then deducted from the amount of accident at work compensation you receive in an successful claim. Should you receive an interim payment of £2,000, and the final settlement you are awarded is £8,000, the amount you would receive would be £6,000 less the agreed percentage you would pay a No Win No Fee solicitor for the legal services they provided.
It is worth noting that every accident at work claim is unique and therefore judged on its own merit. In short, it is hard to predict how long an accident at work claim takes to settle. A less complicated case where liability is admitted, could see a final settlement being reached very quickly in as little time as several weeks or months whereas a very complex personal injury claim could take a few years to settle.
The way compensation is awarded in accident at work claims is divided into two specific parts which are “general damages” and “special damages”. General damages are paid to you as a way of compensation for the distress, pain, suffering as well as loss of amenity you endured as a direct result of having been injured in the workplace through no fault of your own. The medical report provided by a doctor or other qualified medical professional would be used as a basis for the amount of accident at work compensation you are awarded.
A personal injury lawyer would use the medical report and compare it to other cases that have been previously settled which in law is referred to as “case law”. Lawyers have access to legal libraries which they can refer to when required. Your personal injury lawyer would also refer to the Judicial College Guidelines to assess the amount you may receive in general damages for the injuries you suffered.
Special damages are awarded to you in an accident at work claim to reimburse you for all the out-of-pocket” expenses you incurred as a result of having suffered injuries in the workplace. This would include all your financial expenses both medical and travel as well as any loss of wages and future earnings you may have to contend with.
The Government introduced a streamline settlement process in 2013 which applies to personal injury and accident at work cases that are valued at £1,000 and £25,000. If your claim against an employer is straightforward, a final settlement could be achieved within 4 to 9 months. Should your claim be more complex or your employer disputes liability, your case may not qualify for the “streamlined process” and therefore a settlement could take longer to reach.
The examples of how long does an accident at work claim take to settle are based on undisputed cases and where recovery is expected within a reasonable time:
- Accident at work claim can take 6 to 9 months to reach a final settlement
- Slip, trip and fall claims can take anything from 6 to 9 months to reach a settlement
- Industrial disease claims can take anything from 12 to 18 months to reach a final settlement
The above time-frames are given as a guideline only as to how long does an accident at work claim take to settle.
When it comes to the different types of accident at work settlements, the majority are reached in what is referred to as “out of court”. In short, 95% of personal injury claims are settled prior to even going before a judge in court. Should your employer’s liability insurance provider offer to settle your claim in an “out of court settlement”, a personal injury lawyer would work hard for you to receive your compensation within five to fourteen days. If for some reason the out of court settlement is not forthcoming, the solicitor who represents you would recommend filing court proceedings to “enforce” the settlement.
The other way that an accident at work claim could be settled is by taking your case before a judge in court. If this is the case, a judge would rule that the amount of compensation they decree you should receive would be paid to you within 21 days of the “order” being issued. Should the accident at work compensation not be paid within this time, again your lawyer would initiate proceedings against your employer to “enforce” the payment.
The key factors that would establish how long it takes for an accident at work claim to settle would include but is not limited to the following:
- How fast the proof required to validate an accident at work claim is gathered
- That all the information and evidence relating to your accident at work is provided to a personal injury lawyer in a timely manner
- How quickly a lawyer responds to instructions they receive
- The type of accident at work claim you are filing whether a liability claim, Industrial Disease Claim
- Whether a case is accompanied by a “letter of claim”
- The speed at which an employer responds to an accident at work claim
- The speed at which the liability insurance provider responds to a workplace injury claim
- Whether a pre-action disclosure is a requirement
- Whether an employer provides “full disclosure” in a timely manner
- The time it takes to receive a medical report
- How long it takes for a medical report to be sent to a personal injury solicitor
- The time it takes you to recover from the workplace injuries you suffered
- How many medical reports are required
- Whether an employer and their insurers accept liability and how they proceed
- Whether an injured party was a minor or incapacitated
- Whether an employer claims contributory negligence
- Whether an employer’s insurance provider admits liability and offers an “out of court settlement” and whether the initial offer is accepted
- How quickly an employer’s liability insurance provider starts court proceedings
- Whether the legal representation of an employer requests additional time to build a case
- How quickly a court deals with an accident at work claim
- Whether the services of a barrister are required
- The decisions a Judge reaches relating to directions and time-table
- Whether any developments occur during the accident at work process
There is a statutory 3 year time limit that must be respected should you wish to file an accident at work claim against an employer. As such, to avoid your claim being “time barred” it is wiser to start gathering all the evidence that is required sooner rather than later and to contact a personal injury solicitor from the outset. The 3 year deadline would start at different times depending on the circumstances of your claim which is explained below:
- From the date on which you suffered injuries in the workplace
- From the date of your 18th birthday if you were a minor when you sustained workplace injuries
- From the date a medical professional diagnosed you as suffering from a health issue that they can directly link to the workplace injuries you sustained
If you are injured in the workplace and you would like to receive compensation from your employer, seeking legal representation from a personal injury solicitor at the outset could help speed up the legal process considerably. The reason being that lawyers have vast experience in handling accident at work claims for injured employees and other staff. As such, they have the legal expertise required in handling and dealing with your accident at work claim against an employer.
Solicitors, as previously mentioned, also have access to legal libraries which they can reference when investigating your claim and the workplace injuries you sustained. You would be examined by an independent medical expert who would produce a detailed report on the injuries you sustained which would include a prognosis on whether the injuries were life-changing or whether you would be expected to make a full recovery in time. This report would be used to calculate the level of “general damages” you could be awarded in a successful accident at work claim. This would apply whether your claim goes to court or your employer’s liability insurance provider offers you an “out of court settlement”.
Another important factor is that a personal injury lawyer would be aware and would respect all pre-action protocols which can also help speed up the process of reaching a final settlement in an accident at work claim.
Would a Personal Injury Lawyer Represent Me On a No Win No Fee Basis?
For a personal injury lawyer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, you would have to satisfy them that your claim against an employer is strong enough to win either in court, or in an out of court settlement. In short, you would need to provide enough evidence that this is the case. Once a lawyer has determined that your employer could be held liable for injuries you sustained in the workplace, they would agree to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
In short, the only time you would have to pay for the legal services that a solicitor provides is when you win your accident at work claim against your employer. Should your accident at work claim not be successful, the agreed fee as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement you signed would be waived.
To find out more about your rights in the workplace if you were injured in an accident at work, please follow the link below:
What are my rights in the workplace?
If you would like more information regarding the Health and Safety at Work Act, please click on the link below:
To find out more about the Judicial College Guidelines relating to compensation awarded in personal injury claims, please follow the link below: