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What should I do if I suffer an accident at work?

10:19, 7/4/2022

Home » News & Knowledge » What should I do if I suffer an accident at work?

Sadly, accidents at work are very common occurrences. Within the year of 2020/21 the Labour Force Survey found that 441,000 employees had suffered an accident at work, with 142 sadly losing their lives.

 

If you do to suffer an accident at work, there are a few steps which we would advise someone to take as soon as possible, to ensure that they protect themselves, other employees and their own position later down the line.

 

  1. Obtain medical attention as soon as possible

If you are in significant pain, it may be wise to seek first aid from your employers to prevent your injury from being aggravated. If this is insufficient, call 101 or 999 to assess your symptoms and check if you need to go to hospital and/or call an ambulance.

If you do not need further treatment but your injuries become worse, seek medical attention as soon as possible, either from your GP or by visiting hospital. The appointment may simply provide medication to relieve your symptoms or you may be referred for a scan or treatment such as physiotherapy.

Many injuries, even where a person has broken a bone, are not always apparent at the time but it is important that you receive the treatment needed to ease your recovery and to also document your injuries for evidential purposes if you wish to claim compensation in future.

 

suffer an accident at work

 

  1. Report the accident 

We would always advise a person to report their accident to their manager as soon as possible to allow the company to become aware of the issue so the hazard can be rectified, which could prevent another person from suffering a similar fate.

Sadly, some companies do not record verbal communication and therefore any oral complaints may not be logged, which could pose evidential difficulties if you wished to escalate your complaint or pursue a claim for compensation in the future.

Therefore, we would always advise that an accident should be recorded in the company accident book and the contents are checked and a photograph or copy of this is taken where possible. As a final precaution, we would recommend that this is followed up by email so there is hard evidence of the complaint.

Your reports should confirm when your accident was, exactly how your accident occurred and what your injuries were. You may also wish to take any photographs (if applicable) of the issue to support your account.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome you receive from your employers, you may wish to escalate this to their head office or legal team and then seek advice from a solicitor.

 

  1. Be aware of your rights 

A person is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation if they suffer injuries due to the negligence of another.  This means that someone (or something, if it involves a company) has either not done something that they should have done (such as by failing to clean a spillage) or has done something they should not have (such as by leaving a pallet in a dangerous area).

The timeframe for making a claim is three years from the date of your accident if you are an adult in the United Kingdom. If your accident occurred outside of the UK, we would advise you to seek advice from a solicitor in that country as different timescales may apply.

This timescale is also extended to a person’s 21st birthday if the accident involved a child and there is no time limit if a person lacks mental capacity (unless they regain capacity, in which case the timeframe is three years from the date they regained capacity).

Although the timescales are lengthy, we would urge someone to begin the claims process as soon as possible to ensure that evidence is maintained and to give a person the best possible chance of locating a solicitor who is willing to take on their claim on a no win – no fee basis.

In particular, CCTV footage is not stored indefinitely due to its file size and this may only be available for a few weeks or months, dependent on the company’s storage capacities.

It is possible for a person to apply for compensation themselves. However, the process can be complex, particularly if a serious injury is involved.  Sadly, defences are available to the opposing party and as such no case can be guaranteed, even where the accident circumstances are so apparent. We would therefore advise a person to seek legal advice as possible.

Most solicitor firms operate on a “no win – no fee” basis and as such there would be no cost to you if the case failed, provided that you cooperate with your file handler and you are not found to be fraudulent.

By obtaining a legal representative, it would ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible for you, giving you the peace of mind that the correct procedure is being followed whilst reducing any stress the claim could cause. This would allow you more time to focus on your recovery, with your solicitor still updating you along the way.

Although you may not have the funds or resources to access the treatment which you require, by instructing a firm of solicitors, your file handler can request that the Defendant and/or their representatives agree to fund rehabilitation for you and your solicitor can organise this, allowing you to get back to full health as soon as possible.

Legal advice is also important to guarantee that you receive the correct amount of compensation that you deserve. Although a lump sum offered can initially seem attractive , you should remember that the company and their insurers/solicitors are the Defendants in your case and therefore the opposing party’s interests are to try award you as little as possible.

If a sum is agreed, the terms of this should be checked as it may be in full and final settlement, which could prevent you from returning for more money in the future, even if your injuries become substantially worse. We would therefore always advise a person to seek advice on any offers that are received, even if these are trivial such as a voucher to spend in the store or some chocolates.

By instructing a firm of solicitors, your representative can adequately advise you on any offers and negotiate with the other side to ensure that you receive the maximum amount possible, taking into account any financial losses which may be claimable.

 

Sources and further reading

Health and safety statistics (hse.gov.uk)

ACAS

Accidents at Work Claims – Oakwood Solicitors

 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

If you have suffered an accident at work, you may want to speak to your Employers’ Liability experts. Alternatively, call 0113 200 9720.

Meet the author

Alex Singleton joined Oakwood Solicitors in April 2021 as an experienced Paralegal, having worked in Personal Injury since 2018. Currently, Alex works in the Employers’ Liability and Public Liabilit…

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