Can I claim for a work injury if I didn't get medical help?

Updated: September 23, 2020

To make a successful work injury claim, you will need to prove your accident was the cause of your injuries. You will also need to establish the type and severity of your injury and the prognosis for your recovery.

Any medical attention received after your accident will help support your claim, but what if you didn't get medical help at the time?

Getting medical attention

If your accident has just happened, your primary concern should be to seek medical attention.

Even if you feel that the injury is not serious, you should seek medical attention anyway. Symptoms can often be delayed and a doctor may spot something you have missed. Delayed concussion symptoms, for example, may present 24 to 48 hours after an injury.

Seeing a medical professional will also create a formal record of your injury. If at a later stage you decide to make a claim, the medical record will help to establish the type of injury you have sustained and it’s severity.

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. You should clearly explain to the doctor what pain you are experiencing and how it is affecting your life.


It will be necessary to prove that the accident was the cause of your injury. This principle, known as ‘causation’, is a critical part of making a claim. If it cannot be established that it was the accident that resulted in your injuries, a case will fail - no matter how bad your injuries are.

Insurance companies sometimes admit that an employer’s negligence led to the accident but then deny that the accident led to your injuries.

You should therefore explain exactly what happened to the medical professional, so a link between the accident and your injuries can be established at the earliest possible stage. This will also be recorded on your medical notes.

The doctor can also recommend any treatments that will help with your recovery and offer a referral where necessary. You will then be able to claim the cost of these medical treatments back as part of the claim.

What if there isn’t any medical evidence?

If you didn’t seek medical attention after your accident, it will be harder to prove the extent of your injuries and to link them to the accident.

This does not mean that you won’t be able to make a compensation claim. Your solicitor will explore all possibilities to build a case with the available evidence.

Such evidence could include:

  • Treatments you received
  • Unrelated visits to our GP
  • Obtaining a copy of your employers work accident book
  • Contacting witnesses, such as the first aider that helped you after the accident
  • CCTV records
  • Any correspondence between you and your employer
  • Your work absence record

Injured people often decide to self-medicate, particularly if they have a soft tissue injury. Whiplash is a good example, with many claimants thinking that there is little that a doctor can do. Some people feel that whiplash, in particular, is a stigmatised injury deterring them from seeking medical assistance.

In April 2021, proposed changes to the law around whiplash claims come into effect. These new rules will mean that a claimant with whiplash must have sought medical attention in order to be able to make a claim.

If you had or have a soft tissue injury, you should still seek medical attention. Often what starts as a relatively minor injury can lead to complications at a later date.

If you did self-medicate, keep receipts for any pain killers or treatment, such as osteopathy or massage, you might have had.

Even if you were injured some months ago, you should still visit a health professional - especially if your symptoms are ongoing.

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Will I need another medical during the claim?

In most cases, your solicitor will send you for an independent medical assessment. An independent medical examiner will assess your injury and prepare a prognosis for recovery. The medical will also help identify necessary future treatment and care needs.

The medical will form the basis for calculating the amount of general damages you can claim for any pain suffering and loss of amenity. It will also help project the cost of future treatments and care.

Will the medical be carried out near me?

Yes. We will arrange the medical near your home. If you are unable to visit a nearby medical centre, home visits can also be carried out.

Have you been injured at work?

If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

Find out more about making a work accident claim:

  • Do you qualify?
  • How much compensation could you get?
  • How does No Win, No Fee work?

Read more: Work accident claim guide

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