How to Claim Work Compensation when you have an Accident at Work
Who is at Fault?
If you find yourself victim of an accident at work and want to make a work compensation claim you must first prove that your employer is at fault. Damaged equipment, dangerous or untidy conditions, failure to supply adequate safety wear and lack of heavy-lifting training are all classed as negligence. You will need to have recorded the incident in the company accident book and any claim must be made within three years of the date of the accident.
Here are the steps to take when you are involved in a Work accident:
- Report the work accident to a first-aider and get medical treatment (if required).
- Log the work accident in the incident book which all employers should have. Write down the time, date, when and how it happened.
- Gather witness details and statements. These will prove useful later on in your pursuit of your Work Compensation Claim.
- Your employer, person in charge of the premises or the self-employed should report the incident to the RIDDOR, which is the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
- Visit the hospital or your GP as soon as possible, depending on how serious your injuries are, and seek expert medical attention. Do not take any chances for any injury sustained no matter how minor or serious it is.
- Keep records of bills, receipts and other evidence that might help you recover your losses.
The right representation
In many cases, a complex relationship will exist between employer and employee, so dealing with the effects of an accident at work can disrupt the balance between a healthy career and the pursuit of justice. For this reason, the process can be made easier and less stressful for the victim with the use of legal representation. Specialist personal injury lawyers will be able to assess your situation and advise on your eligibility to claim before passing your case over to a relevant solicitor. If you belong to a trade union, you may be able to use their legal services.
Preparation is vital for any successful Work Claim
The more information you can provide to your solicitor, the quicker your claim will be resolved. Keep detailed notes of the date, time and conditions at the time of the incident and take photographs if necessary. Write down exactly what happened as soon as possible after the event including as much information as possible. Take the names and contact numbers of any witnesses and seek medical attention, keeping and making copies of any doctors' notes or paperwork.
Keep it amicable
Workplace compensation claims are often more difficult than other types of claims as the incident has the potential to disrupt your career and damage your relationship with your employer. Ensure that your solicitor keeps your company informed at all times and endeavour to keep the process as simple as possible for all concerned. Remember, the aim of legal damages is to put you in the position you would be in had the accident not happened - it is not about getting hold of some 'free' money.
Although many claims are resolved in a matter of weeks, some can go on for up to three years, especially if disputed by the employer. This can be disheartening and leave the victim wanting to give up on their pursuit of justice. Nevertheless, workplace accidents are subject to the law and under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act employers cannot escape their obligations to provide a safe and clean working environment, so have patience - if your claim is legitimate, satisfactory compensation will be awarded.
Some other points to consider when involved in an Accident at Work
Certain injuries such as whiplash can also take time to display symptoms. It is essential that professional medical opinion is sought soon after an accident occurs because the law imposes time limits (usually three years from the accident or knowledge of the injury) on when personal injury claims can be brought.
Work Compensation and your Employer
Let us put your mind at rest - making an accident at work compensation claim should not affect your job position for the following reasons:
1. Your employer will have UK insurance to pay accident at work compensation claims made by workers
Your employer is required by the law in the United Kingdom to have some form of mandatory insurance for the risk of injuries to employees like yourself - so your employer will only pay the excess on its insurance policy for any claim made against it.
Click worker compensation insurance to read all about the accident insurance your employer must have
2. Your employer will expect you to make a compensation claim.
Most employers will accept and even expect employees following an accident at work, such as yours to make a claim for compensation.
3. Your employer cannot dismiss you for making an accident at work compensation claim
It is likely to be automatically considered unfair dismissal should your employer attempt to dismiss you as a result of an accident at work.
4. You are doing your employer a service by making a claim
You obviously work in a dangerous workplace if a ladder can fall and hit you where elevators are operating. By making a claim you will protect fellow employees from similar accidents and ensure your employer does not make similar mistakes.
You received a nasty injury, but if this happened again someone could be killed and nobody wants that to happen.
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