Causes of foot injuries at work
A lack of training and of correct footwear are common features of foot injuries. Examples of foot injury causes in the workplace include:
- Construction workers not provided with steel toe cap boots or safety boots
- Dropping something being lifted or carried without proper training or supervision
- Slips and trips over wet surfaces, discarded packing materials or exposed cables
- Crush injuries involving pallets, building materials, hoists, forklifts, or other heavy machinery
Occupational injuries to the feet
The health of an employee’s feet may deteriorate over a period of time if his work involves standing for long periods. The wearing of heavy duty shoes or boots may also impact on the employee’s foot health.
Commonly, an employee may sustain:
- Inflammation of the fluid filled sacs that protect the toe joints (bursitis of the toes)
- Compression of the nerve behind the inner anklebone (Tarsal tunnel syndrome), which causes ankle pain and a burning sensation, numbness and tingling on the sole of the foot. This condition is aggravated by prolonged standing or walking, worsening as the day progresses.
- Tinea pedis - Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
What to do if you have suffered a foot injury at work
Visit your GP or A&E
You should arrange to see your GP as soon as you can after the accident. If the injury is more serious, you should seek urgent medical attention.
Your GP's report can be a critical component of the evidence used to support your foot injury claim.
To make a successful foot injury claim, it will be necessary to show that your employer did something, or failed to do something, that led to the accident.
Your solicitor will need to prove that your employer was negligent in some way. You can help by gathering photos, reports and other evidence, and by writing a detailed account of everything you can remember.
Reporting a foot injuryWhatever the circumstances of your work injury, either you or a colleague should inform your manager as soon as possible. The sooner an incident is reported, the more detailed and useful the information recorded in the company's accident book is likely to be.
Accident book records are confidential, and you can request a copy of your report if you wish.
Do I have a claim?
You may be able to make a claim if your injury or illness happened because of your employer's negligent actions, or their negligent failure to act.
You must start a claim within three years of the accident.
Support if you can't work after a foot injuryFinancial support during your recovery may be available in the form of sick pay, or through benefits payments under schemes including the Employment and Support Allowance.
If you have started a compensation claim, you may also be able to get interim payments to cover treatment costs and household expenses, before the claims process is complete.
What impact will my job status have on my claim?
Contractors, agency workers and employees on zero-hours contracts are all still entitled to claim compensation. How compensation is calculated, and who the claim is made against, however, may vary.
Find out more:
How much compensation will I get?
Foot injury 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 foot injury claims
Legal aid is not available when claiming compensation from an employer. Instead a foot injury 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.
Evidence of employers' negligence
There are various situations in which an employee may sustain an injury to his foot if the correct health and safety procedures are not in place or being followed.
For example, a slip or trip at work or a fall from height may result in breaks or sprains to the talus (ankle). Accidents such as these may occur because:
• Someone had failed to mop up a spillage;
• The flooring was uneven
• There was rubbish in the walkway
• The handrail on the stairs was loose or missing
• There were cables across the floor
Impact from falling objects or collisions with machinery may cause injuries to the calcaneus (heel), talus (ankle), metatarsals (above the toes) or the toe bones. Some of these impact injuries may be prevented by wearing safety boots, which should be provided by your employer.
Ligaments and tendons may be damaged as a consequence of the bone injury, but also in accidents involving falls from heights.
An employee may sustain burns to his foot, either from machinery or products that have overheated, or chemical burns from spillages.
Some foot injuries may result in the foot being permanently deformed, or treatment may require the bones to be surgically fused. This may leave the injured worker with a permanent disability. In severe cases, it is sometimes necessary to amputate the foot.
Depending on your individual circumstances, there are a few other things that can affect your eligibility to claim.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor