Can I claim if my work injury is not in the accident book?

Updated: September 4, 2020

Employers in the UK have a legal obligation to record the details of specified work-related injuries and incidents. If you have been injured at work, the accident book record will help support and establish the facts of your case.

If your accident was not recorded, it may be harder to build a case but should not prevent you from claiming compensation.

How does an accident record help support a claim?

Establishing the details of an accident are critical if a compensation claim is to be successful.

Your employer’s accident book should provide a detailed and formatted account of:

  • When your accident occurred
  • How your accident happened
  • The details and severity of your injury
  • Who was involved in the accident
  • What treatment, attention or advice was given
  • Details of any supporting evidence e.g. witnesses, photographs, CCTV etc.

At the start of any work injury claim, a solicitor will collate as much supporting evidence as possible. A record in the accident book is unequivocal proof of when and where an accident occurred. The details give the solicitor an overview of what happened and signposts where additional supporting evidence, such as witness details, can be obtained.

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Who should complete the accident book?

The accident book can actually be filled in by anyone - including an injured employee.

However, once completed, the record should be checked by the first aider that attended the scene. In supporting a compensation claim, it would be preferable from an impartiality point of view for the first aider that attended the accident, or someone other than you, to complete the accident book.

When should the accident book be filled out?

The accident book should be completed as soon as possible after the accident - while events are still fresh in the minds of those involved.

Although there is no specific time limit for filling in the accident book, records must be kept for 3 years from the date of the accident.

As soon as you have sought treatment and are able to do so, you should confirm that your employer has completed the accident book.

Once the book has been completed, your employer should show you a copy to confirm that the account is accurate or there are no omissions. If the account is inaccurate, or if there are missing details, then you should inform your employer and ensure that the record is revised.

Keep a copy of the record and any communication with your employer.

Should the accident also be reported to RIDDOR?

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), legally require employers to report certain serious workplace accidents and occupational diseases, including:

  • Bone fractures (excluding fingers, thumbs and toes)
  • Injuries leading to amputation
  • Injuries affecting sight
  • Crush injuries to the head or torso
  • Burns or scalds
  • Loss of consciousness

After an injury and as soon as you are in a position to do so, you should confirm that your employer has reported to RIDDOR and ask for a copy of the report.

What if there is no record in the accident book?

If your employer fails to complete the accident book, this is negligent on their part. You should ask your employer to fill in the book as soon as you can after the accident.

If your employer refuses to do so or denies knowledge of the accident you should contact a solicitor.

The accident book record should contain key dates and details upon which the solicitor can build a case. The accident book can prove that an accident occurred in a specific way, on a specific date in location.

Together with any medical evidence, the accident book helps establish a robust foundation to build a claim on.

If there is no record in the accident book, the solicitor will need to establish when, where and how the accident occurred.

The solicitor will do this by collating as much of the following as possible:

  • Medical reports or ambulance record and witness statements can help establish the date and location of the accident
  • Medical reports (detailing cause of injuries, ambulance location details etc.)
  • CCTV footage
  • Photographs of the hazards and injuries
  • Independent witnesses

What if I have an occupational disease?

Some occupational diseases, such as noise-induced hearing loss, may be linked to a specific event or accident. In this case, there should still be an accident book record.

However, occupational illness or injury is often a result of prolonged exposure to noise or a toxic work environment and diagnosis may come years later - perhaps after you have left the job. In these circumstances, an accident book record would not exist. The solicitor would seek other supporting evidence to help to build a case.

What if I can’t establish the facts through other means?

If there is no accident book record, you may feel that there will not be enough evidence to support your claim. However, don’t be deterred from speaking to a solicitor. Solicitors are professional evidence gatherers and are often able to build a case where the evidence seems patchy.

Will the record affect the amount of compensation I receive?

No. Compensation will be awarded on the basis of the severity of the injury, the extent that it affects your life. Compensation is also awarded for any costs or losses you have incurred and these would be totalled up regardless of where an accident book record exists.

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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