1. The firm I work for is struggling financially. I do not think it could afford to pay me compensation. Is there any point in claiming?
It is a legal requirement for employers to have employer liability (EL) insurance cover for at least £5m. You should find the insurers details on display in your workplace. Failure to display the EL certificate or make it available when asked can land the employer with a fine of £1,000. Failure to have valid EL insurance can result in an employer receiving a fine of £2,500 for every day not properly insured.
2. I am worried that my employer will make life very difficult for me if I claim.
Whilst a very small minority of employers may react unreasonably, in the vast majority of cases the employer will simply refer the claim straight to the EL insurers and they will handle it from then on.
3. My boss tells me that the accident was my fault. Can I still claim?
Even if you were partly to blame you may still be able to claim but there may be a deduction from your damages for contributory negligence. Examples where your employer may still be liable include failing to provide you with adequate training or proper equipment.
4. My work colleague previously suffered an injury similar to mine and received compensation. Will I receive the same amount as him?
The amount you may receive is personal to your particular circumstances. Awards are split into 2 types – General damages which compensate you for pain, suffering and loss of amenity and Special damages which are the financial losses caused by your accident such as loss of earnings, cost of care, damage or loss of possessions etc. General and special damages combined make up the total award. You cannot therefore easily compare one person’s award against another. The injuries may have been more or less severe, or your particular circumstances might mean that your financial losses may be completely different from your work colleagues. A qualified personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the value of your claim based upon medical reports from experts in their field and will gather all the information needed to claim everything to which you are entitled.
5. I can’t afford to bring a claim. The legal costs will be too high.
Your case may suitable for a no-win-no-fee agreement which basically means that your solicitor will only receive payment of costs if the claim is successful. Here at Beers we are happy to enter into such agreements subject to a review of prospects. We are also happy to have an initial discussion with you about your claim without any obligation and without charge.
6. My employer did not record the accident in an accident book and hasn’t reported it to the Health and Safety Executive.
If your employer does not have an Accident Book, you should send either an email or a letter sent by recorded delivery to your employer, giving full details of the accident and the injuries you suffered. Take photos of the injury as well as the location where the accident occurred. If you are able to obtain statements from your fellow employers, these will also be helpful to your claim.
Employers are required by law to record and report details of specified work related injuries and accidents. The list of ‘specified injuries’ includes: ■ a fracture, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes; ■ amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe; ■ permanent loss of sight or reduction of sight; ■ crush injuries leading to internal organ damage; ■ serious burns (covering more than 10% of the body, or damaging the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs); ■ scalpings (separation of skin from the head) which require hospital treatment; ■ unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia; ■ any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space, which leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.
Injuries where an employee is away from work or unable to perform their normal work duties for more than seven consecutive days (not counting the day of the accident) are also reportable.
Should your employer fail to report an incident involving one of the above, they can receive large fines – up to £20,000 through a Magistrates Court or an unlimited fine through the Crown Court. You are entitled to ask an employer to confirm whether the accident was reported.
7. My accident happened at a customer’s property – does this mean I cannot claim against my employer?
The employer’s duty to take reasonable care for the safety of employees does not end when an employee is sent to premises not belonging to the employer but the courts will take into account the fact that the employer may have no control over the third party’s premises. The court will consider whether the employer acted reasonably. If, for example the employer knew, or should have known, that the customer’s premises were slippery and dangerous when wet, it is likely that the employer will be liable if an employee slips and injures himself/herself. There may also be a claim against the occupier of the land on which the accident occurred.
8. What financial losses am I entitled to claim for?
The most common items are past and future loss of earnings, cost of past and future care, mobility aids and equipment, prescription and medication charges, change of vehicle, adaptations to the home or even, in severe cases new accommodation.
9. I am worried about having to go to court if I make a claim.
Most claims settle without issue of proceedings and the majority of claims that are issued, settle before trial. It is important to note that personal injury claims are brought in the civil courts – they are not criminal trials. You are a victim not an offender.
10. Is there anything I can do to help my claim?
There are a number of things you can do to assist your solicitor and improve the chances of a successful outcome. Here are just a few:-
(1) Take photos of your injury and the accident location; (2) obtain details of witnesses who will be willing to assist by providing a statement. (3) Keep receipts of any items for which you wish to claim (4) Make a note of what happened as soon as you can after the accident whilst it is still fresh in your mind. (5) Keep a diary describing how you feel that day and how your symptoms progress (6) Seek medical advice (7) Ensure the accident is reported to your employer and recorded in the accident book.
If you would like to discuss making a claim for personal injury please ring our personal injury team on 01752 246015 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org