Having an accident at work is more common than you think. According to the Labour Force Survey, over 28.2 million working days were lost during 2018/2019 due to work-place accidents and illness. Right now, most people are still working remotely in order to lower the spread of Covid-19. But before the UK’s lockdown, you may have unluckily got sick before safety measures were put into your work environment or you may have hurt yourself and been put on sick pay. You now may be considering to follow up with some form of work accident compensation.
If you have been put into this position, the most important thing you need to consider is your evidence. This can prove whether or not your work place has breached their duty of care towards you, as an employee. Whether you have had a minor injury or a major break, it’s important to get the care you need in order to help you recover. This includes getting compensation from your place of work in order to help you solve any financial issues ahead.
So, what should you do if you have been involved in a work accident? Whether you work in a retail store or at an office, our blog below will guide you through what you need to do. That way you can get the most amount of evidence to have a successful compensation case.
What counts as an accident at work?
Source: HSE Gov
As you can see from the graph above, some of the most common accidents in the workplace are some of the simplest to avoid. However, if your work place is messy and is covered in hazards, it is easy to have a fall or hurt yourself. You also need to remember that the type of hazards you encounter depend on what sort of environment you work in. For instance, a construction worker is not going to have the same hazards as an office worker. An office worker may be a victim of repetitive strain injuries, whilst a construction worker could be injured by malfunctioning equipment.
Take a look around your place of work. Your businesses’ hazards may include:
- Broken equipment
- Untrained colleagues/employees
- Messy environment
- Tripping hazards
- Faulty electronics
- Repetitive tasks
- Lack of movement
- Ill colleagues/managers
- Violent customers
Once you have taken note of the hazards in the workplace, if you think that there are any that need to be fixed as quickly as possible then you need to go to your manager. That way if there are any future accidents, or you yourself are involved in one, you have evidence that you noticed a hazard and asked for it to be fixed, only for it to be ignored. It proves that your employer was negligent. This is the key to getting a successful work accident compensation claim.
What should you do if you have suffered from an accident at work?
So, now that you have analysed what hazards are in the workplace, you may be feeling a little worried that you may suffer from a work incident in the future. Worse still, you may have already suffered from a work accident but just feel generally unsure about what you need to do. Well, do not panic! Here is what you need to do if you have hurt yourself at work.
1. Focus on your injuries
The most important thing is to focus on yourself. You need to figure out how badly you have been hurt and whether or not you need to receive medical attention. In some cases there may be a first-aid specialist on site to help you, however if your injuries are severe then you will have to go to the hospital to receive medical attention.
Your injuries should be logged into your work’s accident book so that they can be recorded. You have the right to receive a copy of this injury report. It’s important to receive this report because if your injury is worse than it appears then have evidence that it happened in the workplace.
If you do have to go to hospital, or later on need to go to the doctor’s for a check-up, make sure to get a medical report to prove that your injuries have caused you harm. You should also keep any receipts from medication that you have been forced to pay for in order to help you recover.
2. Photographs and Videos
Evidence is vital you want to have a successful accident at work compensation case. This is the same for any sort of accident, including traffic accidents and accidents in public places. Just in case your employer tries to cover up your accident, save and back up any photographs or videos you take of the scene, the hazard and your injuries. You can never have too much evidence! Make sure your photos or videos have a date on them to ensure that they can be proved to be taken from the day of the accident. That way if your employer does try to cover up your accident, you can prove what actually happened.
3. Ask your colleagues for witness statements
No matter what sort of environment your accident took place in, if there were others around you who saw the accident, they can be used to provide evidence and an unbiased perspective on the events that took place. If you were hurt due to the negligence of your employer, ask your witnesses to write out a statement that documents the events that led to your accidents. They have nothing to gain by helping you, therefore their testimony can really help your case.
4. Ask your colleagues to keep an eye on your employer
If you have friends at your workplace, you may want to ask them to keep an eye on what your employer does after you have had your accident. Now, most good employers will try to fix the hazard so that other people will not be exposed to the risk. They will then be more than happy to sort your compensation from their employer’s liability insurance. However, in some cases the employer may just be trying to cover up the reasons behind the accident.
Make notes whenever your source tells you that a change has been made to office policy or the environment of your workplace. That way if your employer does try to fight against your claim, you can prove that they were the ones who were negligent. Having a trustworthy colleague can also be useful if your employer does try to unfairly dismiss you.
5. Keep an injury diary
No one can predict when an accident at work is going to happen. That’s why it’s imperative that you remember as much information about the incident as possible. Of course, in some cases if there has been head trauma, it may be impossible. However, you should try to write out a description of the event, how it took place and what injuries you suffered. You may also want to note important details about who witnessed the event or what your employer’s reaction was. Try to do this within the first few hours of your accident. That way it can remain fresh in your mind.
You should also keep adding to the diary so you can take notes about what happened in the aftermath of the accident, including how your case was being handled and what evidence you have been able to collect for compensation case.
6. Submit a grievance report or letter of complaint
If the accident came from the irresponsibility of your management then you have every right to complain about it. If you were not trained to undertake a certain act or were pressurized by senior figures in your company and got hurt, you need to make a stand to ensure the same thing does not happen to other people. Take a look at an example of an unfair accident below:
Like Larry, you may have been asked to do a job that was completely out of your range of skills. You may not have had the right skills to complete it, therefore were injured as a result. If you write a grievance letter then your employer must investigate it and fix any problems that could be found. That way, you are preventing future accidents and are also giving them a formal notification about your complaints.
7. Create an expenses & losses spreadsheet
Now, this is going to be important. When you have a compensation claims case, one of the most important things you need to do is prove that your injuries put you at a loss. For instance, you may have had:
- Physical damages
- Psychological trauma
- Financial losses (i.e. wages)
- Equipment damages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medical costs
By creating a spreadsheet and keeping a record of the amount of money you have lost during recovery, you can prove in court that your company’s negligence negatively impacted your life. They have a duty of care towards you and have breached it. Now they must pay compensation.
8. Request a “Subject Access Request”
A subject access request is a formal request made to find out information about what your employer has said about you through any sort of communication devices. It can also show how:
- Your employer has been using your information
- Who they are sharing your information with
- They collected information and data on you
These communications may contain valuable evidence that could back up your compensation case. Just make sure you file out the request before you put in a work accident compensation claim. That way your employer will have less reason to hold information back from you.
9. Organize all of your evidence
Now, this point may seem a little obvious, but if you have all of your evidence filed away then this will make it a lot easier when you eventually go to court for your compensation claim. It can also help your solicitor go through your evidence to make estimates on how long the case might last, how much compensation you are owed and whether or not you have a valid claim. Invest in a file, some dividers and a highlighter for marking out important evidence!
10. Ask for the help of a trained solicitor
Work accident compensation claims are complicated. You need to fill out a lot of paperwork and to try to avoid as many pitfalls as possible. An experienced accident at work claims solicitor can help you with this. You may be still recovering from your accident. Therefore you can let them do the hard work and even represent you in court if you cannot leave the hospital in time.
That way you can get the outcome that you deserve.
How do I make an accident at work claim?
Gowing Law Solicitors can help you with your accident at work claim
Here at Gowing Law Solicitors, our trained work accident specialists are here to support you through this difficult period. We understand that accidents can be traumatic experiences. Therefore, we intend to take the pressure off you and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
If you need any advice, we can offer free consultations and advice on your case. Should you want to work with us, our solicitors can help you on a “no win no fee basis”. That means even if you do not get the outcome you want, you will come out on top! You will not need to pay any fees and instead can walk away from the case. There is no risk for trying to get compensation.
Read more about the UK law and accidents at work!
Gowing Law keeps our blog updated on a regular basis. So make sure to keep checking it to see the latest updates. We talk about law topics that could be relevant to your case, including work safety and Covid-19 related topics. We also have a newsletter that goes out on a weekly basis. Let us know if you would like us to sign you up for this. If you have an idea for a blog and want to see it on our website, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Good luck with your compensation case!