Thousands of people are injured or contract disease every year thanks to work related accidents, stress or exposure to harmful chemicals. There are plenty of laws and statutes which protect employees from negligence or cost cutting at the expense of safety but still people suffer from RSIs, trip or fall, have things dropped on them or get caught in machinery thanks to insufficient training, removal of guards and governors, spills and faulty or superannuated equipment.
The consequence of getting hurt at work can range from anything from a few days off ultimately to death. UK legislation declares it’s your employer’s responsibility to ensure that you are as safe as can be at work so if you do have an accident they, and you, should be covered by Employer’s Liability Insurance.
If you are hurt in a workplace accident you should report it as soon as possible to a first aider who will put it in the accident report book. If your work doesn’t have a report book you should write a statement explaining exactly how where and when the accident happened. In this instance you should send a copy to your employer and keep a copy for yourself.
If you feel the accident was preventable and that someone else was responsible, either through negligence or ignorance then you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation isn’t the same as getting paid for having an accident – what happens is your losses, plus compensation for pain and suffering, are included within the settlement. Most compensation claims come to between £3,000 and £5,000 and a tiny percentage ever come to more than £100,000.
Meeting the cost – beyond the short term
If you’re injured at work and have to take extended time off you’ll lose pay and you’ll probably have other financial considerations to meet too, such as travel costs of going back and forth to hospital or meeting with physiotherapists, additional childcare if you’re not able to perform your normal role and if it’s a serious injury you may need to have modifications made to your home as well as taking on the services of a carer. Without compensation all this expense will have to come out of your pocket, and if you’re not working your savings will soon dry up.
If you want to make a claim for compensation it’s generally necessary to start the process within three years of the accident unless there are special circumstances such as is the case with degenerative diseases or asbestosis for example.
Talk to a solicitor who specialises in personal injury claims, the initial consultation is generally free and they will be able to discuss the merits of your case with you. If you have statements from witnesses, doctors as well as photographs of your injuries that’s all for the good. You should also keep receipts of any and all expenses that you incur as a result of your accident. This will make it easier for a judge to determine how much you are owed.
Jack Ryman writes on a variety of subjects, including on behalf of accident claim solicitors. He is fortunate enough to have never suffered a serious injury at work.