Accidents at Work
What duties do employers have to their employees?
Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.
Legally, employers must abide by relevant health & safety and employment law, as well as the common law duty of care.
Requirements under an employer's duty of care are wide-ranging and may manifest themselves in many different ways, such as:
- That you and your colleagues are properly trained
- That you have appropriate and suitable work and personal protective equipment
- The provision of safe systems of work with effective supervision
- The provision of a safe environment in which to work
To assist in achieving this, your employer must conduct health and safety risk assessments and put in place measures to minimise those risks identified.
If you sustain injury as a result of an accident at work as a result of a third party’s negligent conduct, then you can bring a personal injury claim.
What do I have to prove in order to bring a personal injury claim?
You have to show that your employer failed in their duty of care towards you, as set out above, and that their negligent act or omission caused your accident and resultant injuries.
What types of workplace accidents are there?
Workplace accidents can occur in many industries and environments, resulting in varying types of injuries and the following are some examples:
Building site: Common injuries include falls from scaffolding or ladders, neglecting to test equipment, using dangerous machinery, exposure to dangerous substances (eg: asbestos) and manual handling injuries (eg: lifting heavy loads).
Factory/warehouse: Common injuries include falls from height, slips/trips/falls, using dangerous equipment, the use of forklift trucks.
Office-based: The most common accidents in office areas include slips/trips/falls and repetitive strain injuries, eye strain and migraines.
Agricultural: Common types of accidents are with tractors/heavy machinery, sprains and strains from heavy manual handling tasks, Farmer’s Lung (caused by inhaling dust from hay) and asbestos-related illness and reactions to chemicals and contaminants.
What should I do following an accident at work?
- Obtain treatment from a first-aider at your workplace and then attend a GP or the hospital
- Report the accident to a manager because if you have suffered a serious accident your employer may need to report it to the Health and Safety Executive
- Record your accident in your workplace Accident Book, but if there is no Accident Book, write a letter or send an email to your employer outlining all the details of your accident and resultant injuries
- Take photographs and/or video evidence of the accident site/defect/issue which caused you to suffer an accident, because it is important to have contemporaneous evidence of this nature
- Take photographs of your injuries, if appropriate
- Keep a diary of your symptoms and the way in which your injury progresses/recovers (if you continue to experience pain and discomfort, return to your GP/the hospital)
- Keep careful notes of all financial losses and expenses incurred as a result of the accident and also of any care and assistance you may have required throughout your recovery period either from a family member/friend, and if you needed to hire a professional carer, keep all receipts of monies paid
- If you are unable to work due to your injury, check your employment contract to determine if you are entitled to company sick pay, and if not, you should be able to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Depending upon the seriousness of the injury, you may also be able to claim state benefits
What type of damages may I claim/receive?
The amount of compensation you can receive is dependent upon the nature and extent of the injury sustained and financial losses and expenses incurred. The following are examples of the types of financial losses which may be claimed:
- Loss of earnings caused by time away from work
- Travel costs
- Medication/prescription costsTreatment costs
- Care and assistance you may require due to your injury
What information do I need to provide to a legal representative to consider my personal injury claim?
- The details of the way in which your accident happened
- The details of your injuries sustained, visits to the GP/hospital and any treatment/medication recommended
- The contact details of any independent witnesses to the accident
- Any photographs of the accident site/defect/faulty equipment/substandard premises, etc
- Photographs of injuries, if appropriate
- Evidence of loss of earnings and any sick pay you were in receipt of and/or any state benefits you claimed
View our personal injury services here.