Accident at work claims usually occur when someone has been hurt due to the negligence of an employer. This is usually because of hazards around the office or the inexperience of your co-workers. That’s why things may feel a little strange now that you have been working remotely for so long, ever since Covid-19 turned the world upside down. Previously, you may have done all of your work from a safe office environment, a store or perhaps a construction site. However, for the last few months you may have been asked to work from home or take furlough in order to help your business during this difficult period.
So, if you get hurt during this remote-working period, the main question is, will you get paid accident at work compensation? Making an accident at work claim may be more difficult than you realize if you are no longer working on-site. If you do think you’re eligible for a claim though, feel free to get in contact with Gowing Law Solicitors about your questions. We would be more than happy to help.
Why are employers letting their employees work from home?
Did you know that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, around 49.2% of workers are now working from home? Whilst the majority of employers have sent their workforce home to work remotely to stop the spread of Covid-19, there are others who believe that remote working is the new future of the workforce. Employees should not just be trapped in a tiny cubicle or forced to go a small room every day of the week. Instead, being a remote worker can improve the mental health of your workers and allow them the flexibility to get on with their private lives. Take a look at the TED talk below to get a sense of why remote working is so useful:
Allowing your workers to change their lifestyles to remote working can encourage them to work harder than ever before. Not only are you protecting them from Covid-19, but not being confined to one area, or city, means that they can keep up their work whilst going back to their original home to look after close friends and family in their time of need. Happy workers are healthy workers. Protect them and their rights and you will find that they will be loyal to you and your company.
Am I eligible to make accident at work claims if I am working remotely?
This is where things get a little tricky. Normally, when someone makes a work accident claim it’s because they have actually got injured when they were onsite. For instance, on a construction site, a worker may get injured if they do not know how to operate the equipment appropriately, or perhaps have something dropped on them. However, in a remote environment, the employer must ensure that the person and their position are suitable for homeworking. This includes:
- Making sure the home environment is suitable for work.
- Making sure that the environment promotes mental well-being.
- Having the appropriate equipment to make sure that duties can be undertaken effectively
It’s important that the employer makes a risk-assessment about whether or not an employee should be able to undertake their daily tasks without being impeded upon. So,how can an office worker best keep up with their calls and work tasks whilst being out of the office? The answer for this type of question may lie in purchasing a VPN. That way they can hook to their office server to access their files. They may also need to take part in a video call a few times a week. This should help them keep updated about their latest tasks and the expectations of management. Think outside of the box when it comes to remote working. That way you can figure out whether or not it is suitable for your own business.
The Duty of Care & Remote Working
Now, if you are remotely working from home, you may be wondering about whether or not your employer’s duty of care extends to your home. Whilst they cannot make a remote inspection of your house, as this would break social-distancing laws, they can consider whether or not the work would be suitable to undertake from home. Take a look at the example below to get a better understanding of this means.
If you are currently working from home, your employer should make a risk-assessment to ensure that you have everything that you need to get on with your daily duties. This includes any materials or software. They may also want to know if you have the right amount of space to do your work to avoid getting hurt – for instance, a cramped space could mean that you could have a tripping accident or something could fall on you. If your employer is happy for you to continue working from home, there is no reason why you should have to go back into your office, apart from the occasional odd meeting from time-to-time.
If I have an “accident at work” whilst remote, is my employer liable for damages?
An accident at work claim may play out quite differently to what you expect. After all, you are not working in an office and have to find a new way of making remote working work for you. Ultimately, you have control over your own home. Therefore, you need to look after your own safety. However, it is up to your employer to give you appropriate equipment to ensure that you can get your tasks completed in a reasonable manner. Your employer is responsible for:
- Making sure that your work environment is clean and safe
- You have the appropriate PPI and equipment to do your job
- You have received training to make sure that you can do your job
If you do end up getting hurt in your own home, your employer being the one responsible would only happen in quite exceptional circumstances. For instance, if they supplied you with faulty equipment and you got hurt due to it, then it would be their fault and you could claim for compensation. However, if you tripped over your own rug whilst you were getting up to make a coffee, this would be your own fault. Therefore you would not get compensation for your employer.
Take a look at our infographic below to get some ideas on how you can keep safe as you work remotely during the pandemic.
What type of injuries could I experience whilst working from home?
As we stated previously, the most common type of injury that could be the fault of your employer are those due to faulty equipment. Of course, this could happen even if you re-open your office, but it can also happen at home. Equipment may include:
- Fax Machines
Equipment depends on the type of profession you are in, but if the technology does malfunction then you could get hurt. There is also a chance that you haven’t received the appropriate training to know how you can use a laptop without straining your eyes or getting a repetitive strain disorder. You should be informed of your company’s health and safety policies before you start remote working. If you were not given sufficient training then this could be evidence of your employer’s negligence. Ultimately, this could potentially mean that if you get hurt then you could make a claim. Keep in mind it will have to be in quite special circumstances that you are able to get a high pay-out.
What about if I work remotely and travel a lot for my job?
Not every remote job means that you are staying put in one place. In some other cases, your job may actually mean that you have to travel. This may be to different cities in order to fulfill your duties. For instance, you may be a spokesperson for your company and need to go to different areas in order to promote the product. So you would do the majority of your job advertising online, but may also be paid to travel in order to show off your products at conventions or businesses.
If you are travelling on employee time and get hurt whilst you are on shift, you could be owed damages not only from the other person involved in the car accident, but from your employer as well. This includes both general damages and special damages. Make sure to check out our traffic accident compensation page for more information!
Will I need evidence to make an accident at work claim remotely?
You will need evidence if you have any sort of work accident claim. Now, a remote work accident claim is going to be a bit different to normal. As you are going to be working at home, it’s very unlikely that you will have witnesses. If the people you live with witnessed the accident, then you will need to get their statement, as well as inform your manager that you have been injured. You can then proceed to take pictures and videos. You can even call for medical help if the injuries have been severe. Don’t forget to take pictures of the equipment that has injured you in the first place. That way you can prove that it was the fault of your employer. This is because you were not given the appropriate training to handle the equipment.
You should also ask for a medical report if you are taken to hospital to have your injury checked over. This can prove that the injury happened in the first place. You are not making it up or making it look any worse than it is. This can strengthen your claim when you go to court.
How long will it take to make accident at work claims?
Considering that there is currently a backlog of court cases in the UK legal system, it is very likely that your case may end up being delayed. It may even come to pass that you are invited to a remote hearing, instead of seeing your judge face-to-face. Be open and flexible about your court case.Undertaking a remote claims case can mean a faster outcome. That means you should be able to get accident at work claims quicker than you would expect.
The limit for making a work accident claim is 3 years from the time of your accident. You should endeavor to get in contact with a solicitor as quickly as possible about your claim. That way you can give them the maximum amount of time. Your claim can be sorted out without losing any vital evidence.
Gowing Law Solicitors are ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve!
Here at Gowing Law Solicitors, we understand that we are all currently undergoing a difficult time. The pandemic has turned the world upside down and a lot of people don’t currently know where they stand. That’s why we are here to offer as much legal support and guidance as we can. Our solicitors can give you free advice and consultations to get you started with your claim. Want to work with us? Our lawyers would be happy to offer their services on a “no win-no fee” basis. That means you will always get a positive experience working with us.
Contact Gowing Law Solicitors today to gain expert advice on your claim. Phone 0800 041 8350, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our claims checker. You can also use our LiveChat if you visit our contact page.
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