Accidents at work can include slips and trips, falling objects or falls from height, injuries sustained from lifting and/or carrying heavy objects, injuries sustained from dangerous machinery.
A claim can be made against the employer if it can be shown that it was more than likely than not that the employer was to blame for the accident and that the accident caused the injuries.
It would need to be shown that the employer was negligent/in breach of a common law duty, e.g., they failed to provide a safe place of work, a safe system of work, safe equipment, and machinery. Employers can also be liable if an employee is injured through the actions or omission of a fellow employee and this is known as vicarious liability.
To be awarded compensation for an accident, workers have to prove that their employer owed them a duty of care, that the employer breached that duty of care, and that the breach of that duty resulted in their injury.
The first part of this criteria is straightforward, it is well established in law that employers owe their workers a duty of care. The second part to consider is did the employer do everything that was reasonably expected of them in keeping their worker safe. Have they dealt with the risks that they could reasonably foresee, i.e., have they got adequate risk assessments in place, have they provided suitable training to their employees? Once a breach has been shown, a person also has to prove that their injuries were caused by their work and this is clarified by obtaining a report from a medical expert.
A claim against the employer should be made as soon as possible to avoid any issues with gathering evidence. Delays can cause problems in recalling what happened and documents can be lost.
The law states that an injured person is required to start court proceedings within three years of the date of an accident, or the date they first suspected or were told by a doctor that their symptoms or disease were work related.
If you are involved and injured in an accident at work, you should report the accident immediately, or as soon as possible after medical treatment to your employer, preferably a manager, also ensuring that you complete an accident book/report.
If possible and it is permitted in the workplace, take photographs, video evidence, you can never have too much evidence. If you are off work for some time, the employer may make changes to work equipment and systems of work, or carry out an accident investigation, therefore ask a reliable colleague to note any changes and keep you updated.
Seek medical attention by attending your GP or hospital. Also keep an up to date note of all symptoms and how the symptoms progress, or photographs showing how injuries have recovered, as what may seem like a minor injury, or something that doesn’t come on till after GP or hospital attendance, may actually become a long term or more serious condition. This can cause problems further down the line in proving the injuries sustained if the hospital or GP has not made a note of particular injuries or symptoms.
As well as compensation for the injury, you are also entitled to claim for any losses and expenses incurred. It is essential that you ensure that you keep a record of losses and expenses and obtain and keep receipts/documentary evidence where possible. Record any traveling expenses, i.e., date of appointment/trip, the return mileage (if driven) or receipts for bus or taxi travel. The other side can refuse to consider any claims where documentary evidence is not provided.