I’ve Had An Accident At Work, What Are My Rights?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37/contents], states that it is the legal duty of employers to ensure employees, workers and self-employed contractors are safe at work. It is their responsibility to:
● make sure you are properly trained
● provide you with suitable work and personal protective equipment
● undertake risk assessments
● manage business activities to minimise risks to your health and safety
● provide safe working systems
If you have had an accident at work and you think it’s your employer’s or client’s fault you may be able to claim compensation for pain and discomfort, and also recover losses such as lost income.
If you have suffered minor injuries which will not cause long-term problems, and you can still work (therefore not lose wages), you may wish not to pursue a claim for compensation. However, where injuries are more serious and you are unable to work following the accident, making a claim for compensation may be appropriate.
You should get legal advice from a solicitor and as there are time constraints for compensation claims. It is best not to delay seeking advice.
If you’re a member of a trade union your local representative may be able to help you decide what to do and support you by attending meetings with the employer.
Please note: employers cannot sack employees for claiming compensation and if an employer makes your life difficult after you pursue a claim, you may have grounds for legal action against them.
Report the Accident
It is important that the accident is reported and you can ask someone else to report your accident for you if you can’t do it yourself. If the employer has more than 10 employees, the accident must be recorded in an accident book. Smaller organisations may also have an accident book.
If you’re an employee or a worker ensure your line manager is informed and check your staff handbook for more information.
If you are self employed there are different actions to take depending on where you were working at the time of the accident:
- working at a client’s business premises - ensure the person you usually report to there is informed
- working in someone’s home or on your own premises - ensure your accident is reported to the Health and Safety Executive
Record Details of the Accident
Having clear records of the accident will be useful if you decide to make a claim for compensation or if you need to claim benefits such as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
It will be helpful to keep clear records of not only the accident, but also any resulting medical appointments, including appointments with your doctor or visits to hospital.
It may be helpful to:
- take photos of your injury
- take photos of the cause of your accident
- make notes about your accident including drawings
- keep contact details for people who witnessed the accident
- ask witnesses to make notes of what they saw and to share these with you
You may be entitled to Contractual Sick Pay from your employer. Check your contract or staff handbook, or ask your line manager. You may have access to an employee assistance helpline or medical care.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be paid by an employer for up to 28 weeks [https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay].
If you’re self-employed and you have income protection insurance you will be able to make a claim.
If you can’t get SSP, you might be able to claim Universal Credit or another benefit.
If you have had an accident at work and you think it’s your employer’s or client’s fault, and you would like to know more about what is involved in claiming compensation and recovering losses, please contact us to arrange a confidential and no obligation consultation, on Bradford 01274 735511, Ilkley 01943 601173 or Bingley 01274 723858.