How much compensation can I claim for a work accident?

If you have been injured at work, you may be able to claim financial compensation. This article explains how injury compensation is calculated for a work accident claim, and what losses you can claim for.

In the UK, work injury compensation is calculated in two parts:

  • General damages, representing the pain and suffering you have experienced.
  • Special damages, representing your financial losses.

General Damages for a work accident

General damages is the legal term used for compensation awarded for ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’ (PSLA).

PSLA refers to the pain and discomfort your injuries have caused and the broader impact your injuries have had on your life.

General damages are calculated with reference to the ‘Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition’ drafted by the Judicial College.

The guidelines are a set of tables that include example awards for a wide range of injuries, illnesses and health conditions. Awards are categorised based on the type and severity of the injury. These general damages are 'general' in the sense that the similar injuries will receive similar compensation amounts, regardless of a person's circumstances.

Injuries that have long-term or permanent symptoms will generally result in larger payouts, but this is not always the case.

Special damages

There are other, less-obvious costs you can claim for.

Special damages is the term used to describe the compensation you receive for financial losses arising from your accident.

The financial losses you can claim for after a work accident include:

  • Lost earnings (including overtime, bonuses and pension contributions)
  • Care costs during your recovery
  • The cost of any prescriptions and medical treatment (e.g. physiotherapy)
  • Travel expenses

You should keep any payslips, tickets and receipts as evidence to support your compensation claim.

Other costs that you can claim for include:

  • Future loss of earnings (if you are still unable to return to work when you claim)
  • Care provided by family and friends
  • Housing modification costs (such as ramps or walk-in baths)

How much can I claim for an occupational illness or health condition?

If you have been diagnosed with an occupational illness, you can claim compensation for the pain, loss of amenity and other effects this condition has had (and will have) on your life.

There are several illnesses and health conditions that are commonly associated with work accidents and working conditions. These include:

  • Upper-limb disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), and repetitive strain injuries (RSI)
  • Mesothelioma and asbestosis
  • Silicosis and other lung diseases
  • Noise-induced hearing loss, acoustic shock and tinnitus

The amount you can claim for an illness or condition caused by your working conditions will depend on factors including:

  • The impact on your daily life
  • The impact on your ability to work
  • Whether symptoms are temporary or permanent
  • Whether symptoms are likely to get worse over time

The official guidelines do not include specific awards for many occupational illnesses. However, the WAAC work injury calculator does give an estimate for these conditions where it is possible to do so.

Work injury tables

The Work Accident Advice Centre injury calculator refers to the latest published tables when calculating your compensation.

The following is an excerpt of the tables:

Category Injury Amount
Paralysis Tetraplegia/Quadriplegia £276,940 to £0
Paralysis Paraplegia £186,890 to £0
Paralysis Short-term fatal paralysis Around £42,090
Brain damage Very severe £240,590 to £0
Brain damage Moderately severe £186,890 to £0
Brain damage Moderate - level 3 £128,060 to £0
Brain damage Moderate - level 2 £77,410 to £0
Brain damage Moderate - level 1 £36,740 to £0
Brain damage Less severe £13,070 to £0
Brain damage Minor £1,880 to £0
Epilepsy Epilepsy - Grand Mal £87,010 to £0
Epilepsy Epilepsy - Petit Mal £46,780 to £0
Epilepsy Epilepsy - other £9,080 to £0
General Psychiatric damage Severe £46,780 to £0
General Psychiatric damage Serious £16,270 to £0
General Psychiatric damage Moderate £5,000 to £0
General Psychiatric damage Minor £1,310 to £0
Post-traumatic stress Severe £51,070 to £0
Post-traumatic stress Serious £19,750 to £0
Post-traumatic stress Moderate £6,980 to £0
Post-traumatic stress Minor £3,370 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Total blindness and deafness Around £344,640
Injuries affecting sight Total blindness Around £229,260
Injuries affecting sight Loss of sight in one eye & reduced vision in the other £81,910 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Loss of one eye £46,780 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Loss of sight in one eye £42,030 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Moderate loss of some vision in one or eye £20,210 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Minor permanent loss of some vision in one or both eyes £7,780 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Minor eye injury £3,370 to £0
Injuries affecting sight Transient eye injury £1,880 to £0
Injuries affecting hearing and speech Total deafness and blindness Around £344,640
Injuries affecting hearing and speech Total deafness and loss of speech £93,540 to £0
Injuries affecting hearing and speech Total deafness £77,430 to £0
Injuries affecting hearing and speech Loss of hearing in one ear £26,710 to £0
Tinnitus Severe tinnitus and NIHL £25,350 to £0
Tinnitus Moderate tinnitus and NIHL £12,700 to £0
Tinnitus Mild tinnitus and NIHL £10,750 to £0
Tinnitus Mild tinnitus or mild NIHL Around £10,000
Tinnitus Slight or occasional tinnitus with slight NIHL £6,280 to £0
Tinnitus Slight tinnitus or slight NIHL £0 to £5,980
Impairment of taste and smell Total loss of taste & smell Around £33,430
Impairment of taste and smell Total loss of smell & significant loss of taste £28,070 to £0
Impairment of taste and smell Loss of smell £21,320 to £0
Impairment of taste and smell Loss of taste £16,380 to £0
Asbestos-related disease Mesothelioma £59,730 to £0
Asbestos-related disease Lung cancer £59,730 to £0
Asbestos-related disease Asbestosis and pleural thickening with significant respiratory disability £32,780 to £0
Asbestos-related disease Asbestosis and pleural thickening with low respiratory disability £12,860 to £0
Asthma Severe £36,740 to £0
Asthma Chronic £22,440 to £0
Asthma Bronchitis/Wheezing £16,380 to £0
Asthma Relatively mild £9,080 to £0
Asthma Mild £0 to £4,390
Bladder Loss of bladder function & control (with medical complications) £0 to £157,150
Bladder Loss of bladder function & control £0 to £120,040
Bladder Impaired bladder function and control £54,600 to £0
Bladder Near full recovery with minor long term effects £19,980 to £0
Bowels Loss of bladder and bowel function £0 to £157,150
Bowels Total loss of bowel function £0 to £128,060
Bowels Faecal urgency and passive incontinence Around £68,180
Bowels Impairment of function from abdominal injury £38,040 to £0
Bowels Some permanent damage - returning to natural function/control £10,750 to £0
Chest injuries Removal of one lung £85,880 to £0
Chest injuries Traumatic lung injury £56,100 to £0
Chest injuries Damage to chest or lung £26,710 to £0
Chest injuries Chest injury (no damage to lung) £10,750 to £0
Chest injuries Toxic fume/smoke inhalation £4,540 to £0
Chest injuries Collapsed lung £1,880 to £0
Chest injuries Rib fracture/soft tissue injury £0 to £3,370
Traumatic injury Severe damage £36,700 to £0
Traumatic injury Serious non-penetrating injury £14,320 to £0
Non-traumatic injury Non-traumatic - serious £32,780 to £0
Non-traumatic injury Non-traumatic - moderate £3,370 to £0
Non-traumatic injury Non-traumatic - minor £780 to £0
Hernia Serious £12,700 to £0
Hernia Moderate £5,980 to £0
Hernia Minor £2,900 to £0
Kidney Loss of both kidneys £144,520 to £0
Kidney Risk of loss of kidney function £0 to £54,600
Kidney Loss of one kidney £26,260 to £0
Lung disease Severe lung disease £85,880 to £0
Lung disease Lung cancer £59,730 to £0
Lung disease Lung disease £46,740 to £0
Lung disease Breathing difficulties £26,710 to £0
Lung disease Bronchitis and wheezing £17,740 to £0
Lung disease Slight breathlessness £9,080 to £0
Lung disease Temporary aggravation of bronchitis £1,880 to £0
Male reproductive injury Total loss of reproductive organs £131,290 to £0
Male reproductive injury Orchidectomy £17,120 to £0
Impotence Total impotence - young man Around £126,550
Impotence Impotence - middle aged man £36,700 to £0
Sterility Sterility - young man £0 to £120,040
Sterility Sterility - older man Around £16,000
Sterility Sterility - young man (uncomplicated) £47,830 to £0
Sterility Sterility - man who may have wanted more children £20,210 to £0
Sterility Sterility - no intention of having children Around £5,630
Female reproductive injury Infertility - severe psychological impact £98,010 to £0
Female reproductive injury Infertility - failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy with medical complications £29,050 to £0
Female reproductive injury Infertility - no medical complications £15,320 to £0
Female reproductive injury Infertility - where no plan to have children £5,630 to £0
Female reproductive injury Failed sterilisation and unwanted pregnancy Around £8,700
Female reproductive injury Delayed diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy £2,890 to £0
Spleen Serious £17,740 to £0
Spleen Severe £3,710 to £0
Other neck injuries Very Severe Around £126,550
Other neck injuries Severe £56,100 to £0
Other neck injuries Serious £38,800 to £0
Other neck injuries Moderate £21,320 to £0
Other neck injuries Minor £2,090 to £0
Whiplash Recovery in 1 to 2 years £3,710 to £0
Whiplash Recovery in 3 to 12 months £2,090 to £0
Whiplash Recovery in under 3 months £0 to £2,090
Other back injury Severe £33,080 to £0
Other back injury Moderate £10,670 to £0
Other back injury Minor £2,090 to £0
Other shoulder injuries Severe £16,380 to £0
Other shoulder injuries Serious £10,890 to £0
Other shoulder injuries Moderate £6,730 to £0
Other shoulder injuries Minor £2,090 to £0
Other shoulder injuries Minor - Clavicle fracture £4,390 to £0
Pelvis and hips Severe £66,890 to £0
Pelvis and hips Less Severe £52,810 to £0
Pelvis and hips Serious £33,430 to £0
Pelvis and hips Moderate £10,750 to £0
Pelvis and hips Minor £3,370 to £0
Arm amputation Loss of both arms £205,420 to £0
Arm amputation Loss of one arm at shoulder £117,010 to £0
Arm amputation Loss of one arm above elbow £93,540 to £0
Arm amputation Loss of one arm below elbow £82,040 to £0
Other arm injuries Severe £82,040 to £0
Other arm injuries Serious £33,430 to £0
Other arm injuries Less severe - some recovery £16,380 to £0
Other arm injuries Less severe - forearm fracture £5,630 to £0
Elbow injury Severe - disabling £33,430 to £0
Elbow injury Less severe - impairement of function £13,360 to £0
Elbow injury Moderate/minor - Level 1 £0 to £10,750
Elbow injury Moderate/minor - Level 4 £0 to £3,010
Elbow injury Moderate/minor - Level 3 £0 to £5,360
Elbow injury Moderate/minor - Level 2 £0 to £10,750
Wrist injury Severe - Complete loss of function £40,630 to £0
Wrist injury Serious - Some useful movement retained £20,900 to £0
Wrist injury Less severe £10,750 to £0
Wrist injury Moderate - complete recovery Around £8,740
Wrist injury Moderate - Uncomplicated Colles' fracture Around £6,340
Wrist injury Minor £3,010 to £0
Other hand injuries Total or Effective loss of both hands £120,040 to £0
Other hand injuries Serious damage to both hands £47,550 to £0
Other hand injuries Total or Effective loss of one hand £82,040 to £0
Other hand injuries Serious injuries to one hand £24,740 to £0
Other hand injuries Less serious injuries to one or both hands £12,340 to £0
Other hand injuries Moderate injuries to one or both hands £4,780 to £0
Other hand injuries Minor injuries to one or both hands £0 to £4,055
Finger amputation Amputation of finger/s £52,810 to £0
Finger injury Fractured finger/s £0 to £31,350
Finger loss Loss of index finger £10,380 to £0
Finger injury Fracture of index finger £7,780 to £0
Finger injury Serious injury to ring or middle finger £12,700 to £0
Finger loss Loss of terminal phalanx of ring or middle finger £3,370 to £0
Finger amputation Amputation - little finger £7,380 to £0
Finger loss Loss of part of little finger £3,370 to £0
Finger amputation Amputation - ring or index finger Around £18,620
Finger amputation Amputation - terminal phalanx of index or middle finger Around £21,320
Finger injury Minor finger injury £0 to £4,055
Thumb injury Loss of thumb £30,300 to £0
Thumb injury Very serious £16,720 to £0
Thumb injury Serious £10,750 to £0
Thumb injury Moderate £8,250 to £0
Thumb injury Dislocation £3,370 to £0
Thumb injury Minor £0 to £4,055
VWF Severe £26,990 to £0
VWF Serious £14,310 to £0
VWF Moderate £7,380 to £0
VWF Minor £2,560 to £0
WRULDS Severe £18,690 to £0
WRULDS Serious £12,700 to £0
WRULDS Moderate £7,380 to £0
WRULDS Minor £1,880 to £0
Leg amputation Loss of both legs £205,420 to £0
Leg amputation Below-knee Amputation of Both Legs £171,920 to £0
Leg amputation Above-knee amputation of one leg £89,440 to £0
Leg amputation Below-knee amputation of one leg £83,590 to £0
Other leg injury Severe £82,110 to £0
Other leg injury Very Serious £46,780 to £0
Other leg injury Serious £33,450 to £0
Other leg injury Moderate £23,680 to £0
Other leg injury Serious soft tissue injury £15,320 to £0
Other leg injury Less serious £7,780 to £0
Other leg injury Minor £0 to £10,100
Knee injury Severe £59,490 to £0
Knee injury Serious £44,470 to £0
Knee injury Less severe £22,340 to £0
Knee injury Moderate £12,650 to £0
Knee injury Minor £0 to £11,730
Ankle injury Very severe £42,710 to £0
Ankle injury Severe £26,710 to £0
Ankle injury Moderate £11,730 to £0
Ankle injury Modest £0 to £11,730
Achilles tendon injury Severe Around £32,780
Achilles tendon injury Serious £21,320 to £0
Achilles tendon injury Moderate £10,750 to £0
Achilles tendon injury Minor £6,200 to £0
Foot amputation Amputation of both feet £144,520 to £0
Foot amputation Amputation of one foot £71,640 to £0
Other foot injuries Very Severe £71,640 to £0
Other foot injuries Severe £35,810 to £0
Other foot injuries Serious £21,320 to £0
Other foot injuries Moderate £11,730 to £0
Other foot injuries Modest £0 to £11,730
Toe injury Amputation of all toes £31,150 to £0
Toe injury Amputation of the big toe Around £26,710
Toe injury Severe toe injuries £11,730 to £0
Toe injury Serious toe injuries £8,190 to £0
Toe injury Moderate toe injuries £0 to £8,190
CRPS Severe £44,790 to £0
CRPS Moderate £23,910 to £0
Other pain disorders Severe £35,930 to £0
Other pain disorders Moderate £17,970 to £0
Skeletal injury Skeletal injuries £20,320 to £0
Skeletal injury Multiple fractures £12,700 to £0
Nose fracture Serious/multiple fractures £9,080 to £0
Nose fracture Displaced fracture recovery after surgery £3,370 to £0
Nose fracture Displaced fracture £2,160 to £0
Nose fracture Undisplaced fracture £1,460 to £0
Cheekbone fracture Serious fractures £8,700 to £0
Cheekbone fracture Simple fractures with surgery £3,710 to £0
Cheekbone fracture Simple fractures without surgery £1,990 to £0
Jaw fracture Very serious £26,010 to £0
Jaw fracture Serious £15,320 to £0
Jaw fracture Minor/moderate £5,510 to £0
Teeth loss or damage Chronic tooth pain £0 to £32,540
Teeth loss or damage Several front teeth £7,460 to £0
Teeth loss or damage Two front teeth £3,710 to £0
Teeth loss or damage One front tooth £1,880 to £0
Teeth loss or damage Back teeth £930 to £0
Facial scars Severe £25,400 to £0
Facial scars Serious £15,320 to £0
Facial scars Significant £7,780 to £0
Facial scars Moderate £3,370 to £0
Facial scars Minor £1,460 to £0
Other parts of the body Serious - excluding facial £6,680 to £0
Other parts of the body Moderate - excluding facial Around £7,380
Other parts of the body Minor - excluding facial £2,020 to £0
Other parts of the body Severe - excluding facial £89,440 to £0
Facial scarring Severe £25,400 to £0
Facial scarring Serious £15,320 to £0
Facial scarring Significant £7,780 to £0
Facial scarring Moderate £3,370 to £0
Facial scarring Minor £1,460 to £0
Hair damage Serious £6,260 to £0
Hair damage Moderate £6,260 to £0
Hair damage Minor £3,370 to £0
Dermatitis Dermatitis lasting years or indefinitely £11,730 to £0
Dermatitis Longer-term dermatitis £7,380 to £0
Dermatitis Short-term dermatitis £1,460 to £0
HAVS Severe £26,990 to £0
HAVS Serious £14,310 to £0
HAVS Moderate £7,380 to £0
HAVS Minor £2,560 to £0
Leg fractures More serious fractures £15,320 to £0
Leg fractures Simple femur fracture £7,780 to £0
Leg fractures Simple tibia or fibula fracture £0 to £10,100
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) Severe £18,690 to £0
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) Serious £12,700 to £0
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) Moderate £7,380 to £0
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) Minor £1,880 to £0
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) Severe £18,690 to £0
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) Serious £12,700 to £0
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) Moderate £7,380 to £0
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) Minor £1,880 to £0

How the work injury calculator works

Compensation for your injuries

Our calculator walks you through the various steps needed to identify the correct category and seriousness of your injury (as set out in the Judicial College guidelines) to calculate your general damages. The calculator also considers the impact of multiple injuries on your total compensation award.

Compensation for financial losses

The calculator then factors in special damages, including any costs and expenses you have incurred. The calculator provides valuable insights into what losses you can include in your claim.

Claim eligibility

Finally, the calculator checks your eligibility to claim. Your results set out a clear estimate of your compensation and whether the basic criteria to make a claim are met. Your calculator results include valuable tips should you wish to pursue a No Win, No Fee work accident claim.

Is the work injury calculator accurate?

The way the Judicial College Guidelines are applied in practice makes it impossible to take into account all the things needed to calculate an exact compensation figure.

The guideline ranges can be wide. Your solicitor will refer to a medical report to help determine where on the scale your own injuries sit.

The majority of claims are settled out of court in a negotiation between your solicitor and the defendant’s insurance company. You may, for example, decide to accept a lower early offer to secure a quick payout from the insurer.

However, our calculator has been designed to take into account as many of the knowable factors as possible, to produce an estimate that is more accurate than simply referring to the guideline tables.

No win, no fee compensation

Most work injury compensation claims will be made on a No Win, No Fee basis.

If you have been injured at work, No Win, No Fee means you can start a compensation claim without the risk of having to pay any legal fees if the claim is not successful. Your solicitor is only paid a success fee if they win your claim, and this is deducted from the total compensation amount. Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, a solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of a claimant's compensation.

To offset the loss of any success fee, general damages amounts for claims made on a No Win, No Fee basis are increased by 10%. Your solicitor will explain how the No Win, No Fee claims process works at the start of your claim.

Find out more: about how No Win, No Fee works.

FAQ’s

Is the amount affected if I am partly to blame?

It depends. In other circumstances, such as a road accident, your compensation could be reduced if you were partly responsible for an accident.

For a work accident, however, the principle of 'vicarious liability' applies, making your employer liable for foreseeable actions or errors of its employees. If you make a mistake and are injured at work, your employer may still be liable for your injuries.

Who pays my compensation?

In almost all cases, your employer will not pay the compensation out of their own pocket.

By law, companies must have employers' liability insurance in place. Compensation is paid out of this insurance policy.

Do I pay tax on work accident compensation?

No, generally speaking. Personal injury compensation is exempt from taxation in the UK. No tax is payable even if the amount is paid in installment.

However, you may earn a small amount of interest between the date that your claim is settled and the date you receive your compensation. Technically, this interest may be taxable.

Will my work accident compensation affect my benefits?

Maybe. When you receive your compensation award, certain means-tested benefits could be affected. Whether any benefits you receive will be affected will also depend on how much compensation you are awarded.

Some benefits, including incapacity benefit and Working Tax Credit are not affected.

Can I get a more accurate estimate?

The calculator is designed to give you a good idea of a potential compensation award or settlement by asking you a few simple questions. The more information we have, however, the more we can tell you about how a claim might go. The best place to start is to contact us on 0800 218 2227 and speak to one of our legally trained advisors.

A FREE consultation with WAAC gives you a clear understanding of your claim prospects and options.

Our impartial service is provided free of charge and we give you as much time as you need to answer any questions you have.

We never pressure you into choosing a course of action.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

Yes. If you were over 18 when you were injured, you must start a claim within 3 years of the date of diagnosis. If you were under 18, you have until your 21st birthday. There are exceptions, however. For more information call us now for a FREE consultation.

Will my employment status affect the compensation award?

Compensation calculations do not take your employment status into account. Whether you are employed, self-employed, on a zero-hours contract or a volunteer, your injury compensation award will be the same.

There are, however, differences in the claims process, depending on your employment status.

How much can I claim for multiple injuries after a work accident?

It is more difficult to predict how much compensation you might receive if you have multiple injuries.

Calculating special damages for a multiple injury claim is still just a matter of adding up any costs or losses resulting from your accident.

Calculating general damages for multiple injuries is more complex, however, as you cannot simply add two guideline injury awards together.

In most cases, you would receive less compensation for multiple injuries than you would get if you added several single awards together.

Pain might be spread across multiple injuries and no greater than the pain from a single injury. With loss of amenity, whether you have broken two fingers or three doesn’t materially change what you can do.

In some cases, however, you could receive more compensation for certain multiple injuries than you would by adding the single amounts together. For example, having broken both legs will mean you are much less mobile than if you had broken only one leg.

Which principle applies will depend on the medical evidence. This complexity means that solicitors, courts and insurers will consider the appropriate level of compensation for a multiple injury claim on a case by case basis.

Our compensation calculator uses a basic algorithm to give you a rough idea of how much compensation you could receive for a multiple injuries compensation claim.