warehouse operator lying next to a fork lift truck after an accident

What can I do if I have had an accident at work?

Every year, thousands of people across the country are injured at work. While the vast majority of these are non-fatal, many of them can result in time off work, life-long issues and can even prove quite costly.

So, what do you do if this happens? Well, you may be able to make an accident at work claim. Below, we take you through the ins and outs of what can constitute as a work injury, and what you should do if you’ve suffered a work injury.

Most common work injuries

It was recently discovered than more than half a million workers suffered a non-fatal work injury according to self-reports (2018 – 2019). Of these accidents, 443,000 resulted in up to seven days off work, while 138 resulted in more than a week off.

But, when it comes to a work injury, what are the most common? The most common non-fatal work injuries include:

–   Slips, trips or falls at the same level

–   Handling, lifting or carrying accidents

–   Being struck by a moving object

–   Acts of violence

–   Falls from a height 

While you may think a number of these wouldn’t warrant an accident at work claim, there’s a high chance that you could be wrong.

Employers and work injuries

When working for a business, your employer is responsible for your health and safety. This employer duty of care is the law regardless of the nature of your job, the type of workplace, the industry or whether you’re employed part-time or full-time.

Therefore, they’re required to put several measures in place to ensure your safety and prevent any form of a work injury. These include:

–   Proper training

–   Personal protective equipment if required

–   Conducting regular inspections of the workplace

–   Regular maintenance of equipment and machinery

–   The display of warning signs

If these measures, and others, aren’t followed and result in a work injury, you could be entitled to compensation. However, there are things you need to do when it comes to making an accident at work claim.

What to do

Firstly, you need to be aware that you can only claim compensation if the accident you experienced was a no-fault accident. This is when something happens that was of no fault of your own and occurred due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence.

If this is the case, you can claim compensation for the following:

–   Pain and suffering

–   Cost of medical treatment

–   Cost of travel to receive medical treatment

–   Loss of income

–   Loss of work-related perks and benefits

–   Costs of any structural changes required to your home or vehicle

–   Loss of amenity (the prevention of participating in activities you previously enjoyed)

However, before making your claim there are several steps you should follow after experiencing a work injury.

These are:

  1. Focus on the injury – After an accident, you need to seek a first aider, which is legally required in all places of work. If you can’t move, stay still and send someone else. It’s important to focus on your health in the first instance.
  2. Report the accident – when an injury is suffered at work you need to make sure your colleagues, manager and employer is aware that the accident has taken place. This is to ensure the employer can’t dispute the accident further down the line. You should also ensure you document it in the accident book, which all organisations should have.
  3. Evidence – photographs and videos of the injury suffered and the area where it happened will be vital to anyone looking to make a compensation claim following an accident at work. And remember, you can never have too much evidence.
  4. Document symptoms – ensure you keep a diary of all the symptoms you experience after the accident. This is to ensure nothing is missed when making a claim, which is easy to do.
  5. See a professional – whether you go to the hospital or your GP, make sure you visit a health professional who can check you’re ok. If there are complications that continue to occur, make sure you continue to see your GP to ensure the full extent of your accident is documented.
  6. Submit a grievance – irrespective of the outcome of the accident investigation, you need to ensure you make a complaint to your employer.
  7. Keep records – these should be records of any expenses or losses you’ve encountered that can be included within your claim.
  8. Subject to access request – this should be done if your employer has the information you want to know, whether that be out of curiosity or because you think it will help.
  9. Seek advice – make sure you speak to a dedicated solicitor and not a call centre operative to get a true reflection of what you could be entitled to, and whether you can make an accident at work claim.

Accident and work claim and job security 

If you’re worried about your job, don’t be. The law is very clear that you can’t lose your job because you’ve claimed compensation following a work-based injury.

The process of firing someone because of this is illegal, as there is an employer duty of care that should have been met. And, if anything like this does happen, it opens up the employer to further legal action.

If you’ve experienced an accident at work and need some advice about what to do, please get in touch today.

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