What Are My Legal Rights After An Accident at Work? – A Guide To Your Rights After being Injured At Work

If you are involved in an accident at work, it can leave you unable to work and could even lead to far reaching consequences. This could include disabling injuries and substantial financial losses. Your injuries could prevent you from pursuing your favourite pastimes and hobbies which you would have a right to be compensated for. With this in mind, seeking compensation can help you get through a difficult time both financially and psychologically if the injuries you suffered were due to the negligence of someone else, whether it was your employer or a fellow worker.

To find out more about your legal rights after an accident at work that left you with injuries, please click on the links below:

Accident at Work Statistics in the UK

A Health and Safety Executive report established over 170 employees were killed in accidents at work from the period 2016 and 2017. One of the main reasons for these fatalities in the workplace was due to workers coming into contact with moving vehicles while they were carrying out the jobs they were tasked to do. The report also determined that the most commonplace accidents at work were the following:

  • Workers falling from a height
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • Employees being hit by moving equipment or machinery
  • Workers becoming trapped underneath an item that collapsed or overturned
  • Employees coming into contact with electricity

The Health and Safety Executive report also established that 690,000 workers were involved in some sort of non-fatal accident at work during the same period which were “self-reported” while other accidents in the workplace included the following:

  • Accidents at work that were reported to RIDDOR by employers stood at 70,186 non-fatal workplace incidents

The report established that accidents at work involving women stood at 30% while those involving men was 62%.

Should you have been involved in an accident at work and you suffered injuries, you need to know your legal rights and what you would be entitled to receive in the way of compensation for the distress, pain and suffering you suffered through no fault of your own while carrying out the jobs you were tasked to do by an employer. There are many laws as well as Health and Safety regulations that govern the workplace and which are there to protect you from harm and injury.

An employer has a legal duty to ensure that they abide by these laws and if they do not which results in your sustaining an injury, they would be in breach of their duty and could be deemed liable. In short, you could seek compensation from an employer by filing a personal injury claim against them.

What Laws Protect Me After an Accident at Work?

Employees and other workers/staff are legally protected while they are in a work environment. Your employer must abide by and respect these laws to reduce the risk of harm and injury coming to their staff while they are at work. The laws that are in place to protect you are detailed below:

As previously mentioned, under UK law, all employers have a duty of care towards all the people who are in their employment no matter what jobs they do or whether permanent or temporary staff. As such, your employer must set in place appropriate measures to ensure that you and your fellow workers are kept safe from illness or injury while in their employment.

The measures that an employer must set in place would include the following:

  • Correct and adequate training to all members of a workforce
  • Industry-standard personal protective equipment must be provided
  • Maintaining all equipment, machinery and tools in good working order
  • Erecting warning signs where and when necessary

Should you have suffered an injury at work because an employer failed to set in place the necessary measures to ensure you were kept safe from harm, they would be in breach of their legal duty and as such, you could be entitled to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim against them.

What are My Employer’s Responsibilities Towards Me in the Workplace?

If your employer ignores 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 every right to seek compensation from them for the distress, loss of amenity, pain and suffering you endured. However, for your claim against an employer to be upheld, it must meet specific criteria. With this said, an employer’s responsibilities towards you and your fellow workers includes but is not limited to the following:

  • To ensure that all reasonable measures have been set in place to minimise the risk of your overall health and well-being being negatively impacted while you are carrying out the jobs you are asked to do
  • To make sure that a work environment is safe – this includes if the work you are tasked to do involves being offsite – an example being on a construction/building site
  • To erect adequate “hazard” signs to warn all employees and visitors to a work environment of any dangers that may be present
  • To make sure that adequate precautions are in place should a work environment be hazardous
  • To set in place adequate measures to control the exposure to any hazardous substances that may be present in a work environment
  • To make sure that all facilities within a work environment are up to Health and Safety requirements
  • To make sure that emergency plans are in place should an accident at work occur
  • To ensure that first-aiders are correctly trained
  • To make sure that materials and other items are correctly stored and handled safely
  • To make sure that all employees and other workers are aware of working procedures and practices
  • To regularly carry out risk assessments of a work environment to identify hazards and to set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees and other staff
  • That employees take regular rest breaks and that holiday entitlements are taken
  • To ensure that suitable facilities are available to pregnant staff as well as nursing mothers
  • To provide an area where workers and other staff are able to get changed if needed
  • To make sure that all items that need to be stored at height are stacked securely
  • To make sure that floors, walkways and stairs are kept clean and clear of any obstacles

Does My Employer Have Any Legal Responsibilities After an Accident at Work?

If your injuries are reportable to RIDDOR, your employer is legally obliged to send the authority a report of the incident and details of the injury you sustained. Some employers are also legally obliged to have an Accident Report Book in the workplace in which all incidents and near misses should be logged. If your employer fails to report an incident to RIDDOR, they would be acting unlawfully.

Should the accident at work that left you injured not have been logged in an Accident Report Book, you can send your employer either a registered letter or a personal email, detailing the accident at work and the injuries you sustained which would be backed up by the medical report you received either at the Accident and Emergency Department of a local hospital or from your own GP.

If your injuries kept you from reporting the incident to your employer or person in charge, you can ask a fellow worker to do this for you and when you can, you have the right to check that the details of your injuries and the accident at work that you were involved in, was correctly logged. If you find that some details are incorrect, you have the right to change them before signing off on the accident at work report.

What Are My Rights After an Accident at Work?

You rights are protected if you are involved in an accident at work that leaves you injured and you would have the “right” to seek compensation for a “no-fault accident”. This refers to a workplace accident that was either due to employer negligence or because a fellow worker made a mistake or error of judgement. Even if you think you may have been partly responsible, you should discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer because they may well be able to establish “contributory negligence” on the part of your employer.

What Can I Include in an Accident at Work Claim?

Compensation for workplace injuries is divided into two specific categories which are “general damages” and “special damages”. You would be able to claim for the following:

  • The pain, suffering and loss of amenity your injuries caused you which includes psychological trauma
  • The cost of any medical treatment you incurred as a direct result of your workplace injuries – this includes consultation fees, prescriptions, laboratory tests, surgical and non-surgical procedures as well as any long-term therapies you may require like physiotherapy, rehab or psychiatric treatment
  • The cost of travelling to and from treatments whether at a hospital or other medical facility
  • Any loss of earnings that you incurred during your recovery
  • Loss of future income if your injuries prevent you from working again
  • Any work-related benefits and perks you may have missed out on which includes bonuses or a promotion
  • Care costs should you require help after being injured in the workplace
  • Home adaptations if these are required which includes adaptations to a vehicle too
  • All other expenses that can be directly linked to the workplace injuries you sustained

If you suffered injuries in the workplace and are unsure of your rights to sue an employer, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who has vast experience in advising employees and other workers on how to proceed with a personal injury claim against their employers.

Have I Got a Right To Sue an Employer After an Accident at Work?

Providing you can prove either employer negligence or the misjudgement of a fellow worker was the cause of the workplace accident that left you injured, you have the right to seek compensation from an employer. As previously mentioned, if you believe you may have been partly responsible for the injuries you suffered, you could still be entitled to make a personal injury claim against your employer citing “contributory negligence”. However, should this be the case, the amount of accident at work compensation you may receive would be less as it would factor in the level of “responsibility” you are deemed to have had.

What is the Time Limit to Making an Accident at Work Claim?

For a personal injury claim against an employer to be valid, you would need to file it within the mandatory 3 year time limit associated with this type of case. However, the time limit begins according to the circumstances associated with the workplace accident that left you suffering from injuries or an work-related illness which is as follows:

  • The statutory time limit of 3 years would begin from the date of the injury you sustained in a workplace accident, or
  • 3 years of the date you were diagnosed as suffering from a health condition they directly link to the injury you suffered in an accident at work, or
  • 3 years from your 18th birthday if the incident in the workplace in which you were injured happened prior to that date

Who Pays The Accident at Work Compensation I am Awarded?

All employers in the UK are required by law to hold valid liability insurance and the policy must be issued by a recognised provider. This insurance covers accidents at work that leave employees, other workers and visitors to a work environment with injuries or suffering from work-related health issues.

As such, it is the insurance company that settles all successful personal injury claims that are filed against employers whether a case goes before a judge or it is settled out of court by the insurance provider, with 95% of all personal injury claims being settled in this manner. It is also worth noting that the legal requirement for a policy is set at £5 million.

Do I Have the Right to Claim Industrial Injury Benefits (IIBD)?

If the injuries you sustained in an accident at work left you suffering with a health issue or a disability, you may have the right to claim Industrial Injury Benefits (IIBD). You could have the right to claim these benefits whether you were injured in a workplace accident or on an approved training course. The amount you could be entitled to receive would reflect the extent of a disability or medical condition you developed. It is worth noting that more than 70 diseases are covered under the scheme.

Could I Lose My Job After an Accident at Work?

Your worker’s rights are protected in the UK which includes your right to seek compensation after an accident at work that left you suffering from injuries. Should your employer decide to dismiss you after an accident at work because you filed a personal injury claim against them, they would be breaking the law and would be in breach of your rights.

An employer cannot infer that you may lose your job either. They cannot threaten you in any way which includes suggesting you may be sacked from your job if you seek compensation for the injuries you sustained in a workplace accident. Should this be the case, you must seek legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in employment law because you may be entitled to file an “unfair dismissal” claim against your employer too.

Do I Have The Right to be Paid During My Recovery After an Accident at Work?

If your workplace injuries prevent you from working and you need time off work to fully recover, you would be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which is set at £92.05 per week. You would be entitled to receive SSP for up to 28 weeks. However, you should check your employment contract because often an employer could have agreed to pay your extra sick pay and benefits should you require time off work to recover from injuries sustained in an accident at work.

Have I Got the Right To Legal Representation From a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident at Work?

You have every right to seek legal advice and representation after you are involved in an accident at work and you suffered any sort of injury. Your employer cannot prevent you from contacting a personal injury lawyer should you decide to seek compensation for the pain, suffering, distress and loss of amenity you endured through no fault of your own.

Having the legal expertise of a personal injury lawyer on your side from the outset can help speed up the process of claiming compensation through a tribunal, bearing in mind that more often than not, liability insurance providers prefer to settle personal injury claims before they go before a judge.

A lawyer would also respect the 3 year time limit associated with personal injury claims as well as the necessary pre-action protocols. An employer would be acting unlawfully if they attempt to prevent you from discussing your case with a lawyer. If they make your working life difficult or hint that you may be made redundant if you pursue your claim, you should contact a solicitor immediately because again, your boss would be in breach of the law that protects your right to seek compensation when injured through no fault of your own in the workplace. It is one of your legal rights after an accident at work.

Informative Links

If you were injured in an accident at work and would like more in-depth information regarding pre-action protocols associated with personal injury claims, please click on the link below:

More information regarding pre-action protocols linked to personal injury claims

To find out more about your employer’s responsibilities when it comes to your health and safety at work, please follow the link below:

More about an employer’s responsibilities towards your health and safety at work

To find out more about your worker’s rights in the workplace, please follow the link below:

More about your worker’s rights in the workplace.