How are digger accidents caused?
Employees and self-employed workers in industries such as construction, mining and quarrying, forestry and logging, and civil engineering often work in close proximity to digging equipment.
These workers are at risk of being struck by bulldozers, forklift trucks, diggers and other heaving lifting equipment, as well as from the rubble, earth and other construction materials the machines are handling.
Although there are inherent risks within these industries, employers have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of their employees and the public, by minimising these risks.
Injuries sustained from accidents involving diggers may include:
- Arm injuries & leg injuries - such as broken bones or crushing - which may lead to amputation
- Abdominal injuries from being crushed or trapped by machinery or by falling rubble
- Head injuries from being struck by digger buckets or construction materials
- Injuries sustained through falling from a height
How may risks be reduced?
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain, stipulates that employers must provide employees and visitors with a safe workplace environment.
In the first place this means carrying out risk assessments and ensuring that safety policies - to address and reduce the risks - are written, communicated and implemented.
With regard to diggers and earth-moving machinery, safety measures may include:
- Training digger operatives how to use the machinery safely, including instructing on maximum loading limits for digger buckets
- Making sure equipment is properly maintained and inspected, and any faults repaired
- Prohibiting untrained employees from operating the equipment
- Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, hi-vis vests and safety gloves
If an accident occurs as a result of an employer’s failure carry out the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of his employees and the public, his negligence means he may be found liable for any injuries sustained.
What to do if you have been injured in a digger accident
Get medical attention
Your health is the priority. All other steps can be dealt with after you have sought medical attention. Even if you are initially helped by your company’s first aider, you should visit A&E or your GP, as appropriate.
Make sure you keep a copy of the medical report as it may be vital evidence should you decide to make a digger accident claim.
Find out more: Key things you need to do when getting medical help for a work injury
Collect your own notes and statements
Even if you don’t plan to start a compensation claim now, you should still keep a record or file containing any company correspondence, your own notes, accident reports and witness details.Having a written file to hand can make it easier for your solicitor to make sure you get the correct compensation amount.
Find out more: Gathering evidence after a work injury - checklist
Reporting a digger accident
The company should record the circumstances of your injury or illness in an accident book. The report will include details of what caused the incident, and of how you were injured. The report may also include witness statements.
The accident book report will be very useful evidence if you decide to claim compensation in the future.
Can I claim for a digger accident?
You should be entitled to make a digger accident claim if you were injured while working or while at your place of work. You must start your claim within three years of the accident.
Financial support after a digger accident
If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to claim financial support. Your options include:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Work accident compensation
In some cases, you may also be entitled to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). ESA is available to workers who have made National Insurance contributions in the last two years and is also available if you are self-employed.
Will my employment status affect my right to claim?
Whether you are employed, self-employed, on a zero-hours contract or employed through an agency, a claim should still be possible. There are however a number of things you need to be aware of.
Read more about claiming if you are:
How much compensation will I get for a digger accident?
Digger accident compensation awards are calculated based on two factors:
- The injuries or illness you have suffered (called general damages)
- The financial costs you have incurred (called special damages)
Injury compensation is worked out with reference to an official table of guideline amounts. During the claims process, your solicitor will arrange for an assessment of your injuries to determine which table values are applicable.
Our calculator uses the official guidelines to give you an idea of the compensation you could receive.
No win, no fee digger accident claims
Legal aid is not available when claiming compensation from an employer. Instead a digger accident compensation claim can be made through a solicitor under a No Win, No Fee agreement.
Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, you pay nothing upfront and nothing at all if you don't win your claim.
If you do win, your solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation after you receive it. Solicitor's success fees are restricted to a maximum of 25% of your settlement or award but maybe less.
Compensation awards are, however, increased for claimants on a No Win, No Fee agreement in order to reduce the impact of the success fee.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor