If you are hurt in a workplace accident, the idea of bringing a compensation claim may seem overwhelming, especially if you are still dealing with the effects of your injuries. However, if you were injured at work due to someone else’s negligence, you have every right to seek some sort of recompense.

Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury team at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, outlines some common causes of workplace accidents and explains how you go about making a claim.

What are the most common workplace injuries?

Some 693,000 workers suffered a workplace injury in the UK in 2019/20, according to Health and Safety Executives statistics. Workplace accidents can arise in a number of ways, but the most common causes of injuries include:

  • slips, trips, or falls;
  • injuries while handling, lifting or carrying;
  • being struck by a moving, flying or falling object;
  • acts of violence;
  • falls from a height;
  • contact with moving machinery;
  • being struck against something fixed or stationary;
  • being struck by a moving vehicle;
  • exposure or contact with a harmful substance; or
  • being injured by an animal.

What duties does my employer have to keep me safe?

Under UK health and safety laws, employers have a legal duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure your health, safety, and wellbeing in the workplace. This duty applies whether you work full-time, part-time or on a self-employed or agency basis. It includes measures such as conducting regular risk assessments and alleviating possible risks; checking machinery is safe to use; providing protective clothing and equipment; and ensuring the work environment is clean.

If your employer breaches this duty and you are injured as a result, they may be found to be negligent, and you will have a valid claim for compensation. For most workplace accident cases, negligence would be found if the employer responsible had failed to act how a ‘reasonable man’ would act in a similar situation.

What evidence do I need to bring a compensation claim?

It is a good idea to gather evidence from the accident scene and afterwards, which a specialist personal injury lawyer can use to strengthen your case. This includes:

  • names and contact details of any eyewitnesses;
  • the entry in the workplace accident book;
  • photos of the accident scene and your injuries;
  • any CCTV footage of the event;
  • records of any medical treatment required following the accident;
  • a written account of the accident and how your injuries have affected you; and
  • details of any expenses which have arisen from your injury.

How can a solicitor help?

If your employer has failed in their legal duties under health and safety laws and you suffer a workplace injury as a result, you should contact a specialist personal injury lawyer straight away.

They will help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case, refer you to a medical expert to assess your injuries and the effect they have had on your life, and strive to win you the financial settlement you deserve.

What are the time limits for bringing a claim?

You usually have three years under the Limitation Act 1980 to bring a claim from the date of the accident, but it is advisable to start your claim while the accident details are still fresh in the minds of everyone involved.

How much compensation will I receive?

The compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and your prognosis, but could include damages for:

  • mental or physical pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings;
  • medical expenses;
  • loss of potential earnings;
  • out of pocket expenses; and
  • adaptations required to your home.

Will I bankrupt my boss if I bring a compensation claim?

All employers are legally obliged to take out employers’ liability insurance to cover any compensation claims made. This means if you make a compensation claim against them, the insurance company will pay.

Can my employer fire me if I sue?

You should not worry about your employer firing you or treating you adversely if you make a claim, as to do so would be illegal, entitling you to take your employer to an employment tribunal.

For more information on claiming compensation for a workplace accident, or any other personal injury issue, please contact Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team on 01626 202328 or email thereseclasson@wbw.co.uk. WBW Solicitors has nine offices across the South West in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.