A guide to making a work accident claim
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 1.6m people were made ill and 0.7m sustained an injury at work in 2019/20.
If you were injured at work you may be able to claim benefits and compensation for your injury.
The following guide explains your rights if you are injured at work and what you need to do to make a successful compensation claim.
Why it's so important to seek medical attention
If you have been injured in a work accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You should make an appointment even if you don't think your injuries are serious.
There are three main reasons to see your GP after an accident at work:
- Your doctor will check how serious your injuries are. They can recommend treatment or refer you to a specialist if needed.
- Your doctor will tell you if any existing injuries or health conditions could become worse as a result of your accident.
- You will have a full medical record of your injuries. This medical report is very useful evidence if you decide to make a work injury compensation claim.
Why does medical evidence matter?
Medical evidence is a very important part of the work accident claims process.
In order to work out how much compensation you should be paid, your solicitor will need to know:
- What injuries you suffered
- How seriously you were injured
- Whether the accident made any existing injuries worse
Some workers decide to make a claim sometime after their accident after their injuries have already healed or mostly healed.
Without a GP's medical records from the time of the accident, it can be harder to prove how serious your injuries were.
As part of the claims process, your solicitor will usually also arrange for you to see an independent medical expert. This expert could be a GP, or maybe a specialist, depending on what kind of injury you have suffered.
The medical expert will write a report on your injuries, explaining how serious they are, and what impact they have on your life and your ability to work.
Reporting your work accident will help your claim
Under Health and Safely laws, if a company has 10 or more employees, all serious accidents in the workplace must be recorded in an accident book. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that even minor accidents should be reported.
All information in the work accident book is confidential.
It is important that you inform your manager or health and safety representative about your accident as soon as possible. If you are unable to report the accident yourself, someone else can report it for you.
What should the report include?
The accident book report should include:
- How the accident happened
- When and where the accident happened
- Who was injured
- What injuries were caused
Work accidents should be reported regardless of who or what caused them, and who was injured.
If you decide to make a work accident compensation claim, the work accident book report will be very useful evidence to support your claim.
Do I have a work accident claim?
As a basic rule, If you were injured in the last 3 years and someone else was to blame, you may be able to claim financial compensation for your injuries.
However, in the case of an injury at work, many people think they don't have a claim when in fact they do.
The injury may have occurred away from your place of work when working from home or as a result of a colleague's or even a member of the public's actions. Whatever the circumstances of your work accident, a claim may still be possible.
Help your claim by keeping records
A record of your work accident will help you to:
- Claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and benefits
- Make an injury compensation claim
Even if you don't plan to claim anything right now, it is a very good idea to make a record while you still clearly remember what happened.
If your employer disagrees with your version of events, it will help your claim if you wrote everything down.
What should you make a record of?
Make a file and keep as much of the following in it as you can:
- Witness statement
- Photograph (or photocopy) of the accident book form
- Photos of the hazards and accident scene (can't have too many)
- Names and contact details of witnesses
- Medical reports (get something written every time you get medical attention)
- Diary of symptoms and events
- When and where you have needed help from others
- Keep all correspondence, such as SMS messages, emails and letters from the insurance company
- CCTV expand
Claim for all your losses and expenses
You can claim compensation for any money you have spent or lost as a result of your accident.
You will need to provide evidence of these losses and expenses to your solicitor. Your solicitor will add these to the overall compensation amount you can claim.
Examples of things you can claim for include:
- Cost of medical treatment
- Cost of ongoing care and home help
- Cost of other treatments like dental work or physiotherapy
- Prescription costs
- Travel costs to and from GP and hospital appointments
- Repair or replacement of damaged property
Can I claim for disability support?
Your claim can include any care and support costs that arise from your work accident. For example, you may need changes to be made to your home.
Disability alterations could include:
- Fitting stair rails
- Having ramps installed if you are unable to use stairs
- Having bars installed in the bathroom
- Widening doors
- Lowering and moving cupboards
It may be the case that your current home is no longer suitable and cannot be easily altered. In such cases, you may be able to claim for moving costs.
Claiming for your lost earnings
You can claim for any lost wages if you had to take any time off work. You may be able to claim for lost job prospects or a lost promotion if you have had to take a long time off work.
You may also be able to claim for:
- Lost commission
- Lost bonuses
- Pension contributions
Will my employment status affect my right to claim?
Contractors, agency workers and employees on zero-hours contracts are all still entitled to claim. How compensation is calculated, and who the claim is made against, however, may vary.
Find out more:
What benefits can I claim after a work accident?
If you have been injured in an accident at work, there are two types of claim you can make:
- SSP and benefits payments
- Work injury claim compensation
There are several payments you can claim from the Government if you have been hurt in a work accident. Which payments you can claim will depend on the circumstances of your injury.
Statutory sick pay (SSP)
To claim SSP, you must:
- Be employed
- Have a contract
- Been sick for four or more days in a row (including weekends)
- Earn at least £118 a week (on average)
- You must also have told your employer, and shown them proof of your injury
You can claim £94.25 a week SSP for up to a maximum of 28 weeks. SSP is paid by your employer, like your normal salary.
Industrial injuries disablement benefit
If you were made ill or you now have a disability because of an accident at work, you can claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). You can also claim IIDB if your illness or disability was caused over a period of time by working conditions.
The amount you can claim per week will depend on how serious your disability is. When you apply for IIDB, a medical advisor will assess your injuries or illness on a scale of 1% to 100%.
For example, an allowance of £179 a week is paid for 100% disablement. A payment of £35.80 is paid for 20% disablement.
If someone is looking after an injured person for at least 35 hours a week, they can claim carer's allowance.
A carer can claim £66.15 a week. The carer does not have to be a family member of the injured person. The carer does not need to live with the person they are looking after.
Are benefits enough?
For most people, the benefits paid following a work accident are not enough to compensate them for their lost wages or for the impact their injuries have had on their life. For this reason, many workers choose to also make a personal injury claim.
Work injury compensation
Making a personal injury claim is a legal process. The process is there to put you back in the position you were in before your accident. Of course, compensation can never really compensate you for the ordeal of being injured. Compensation can however go a long way towards helping you (and your dependents) cope with the challenges brought about by your injury.
Compensation awards are made up of 2 parts:
You can make a compensation claim for the pain and suffering you have felt because of your injuries, known as "general damages". General damages are calculated based on the type and seriousness of your injuries.
You can also claim for any financial losses that were caused by the accident, known as "special damages". Examples include lost wages, travel expenses for hospital appointments, and treatment costs.
How much work injury compensation can I claim?
Calculating the amount of compensation you could receive can be complicated. Compensation is calculated by adding Special and General damages together and deducting any success fees you may have agreed with your solicitor.
Our online calculator uses the latest official compensation tables published by the Judicial College. The calculator takes into account the type and severity of your injuries, adjustments for multiple injuries, and any other amounts you could claim.
Find out how much you could claim with our calculator:
- Instant calculation
- Shows the true cost of making a claim
- Confirms your right to claim
Making a No Win, No Fee claim
No win no fee takes the financial risk out of making a work accident claim.
There are no legal fees, costs or expenses to pay if your No Win, No Fee claim is not successful, subject to Legal Expenses Insurance. At the start of your No Win, No Fee claim, your solicitor will take out Legal Expenses Insurance on your behalf.
Under a No Win, No Fee agreement, a solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of the compensation. Your solicitor will only receive deductions from the compensation award or settlement if they win your claim.
Our compensation calculator will confirm if you could be eligible to make a No Win, No Fee claim.
If you would like to speak to us about making a No Win, No Fee claim, please call us on 0800 218 2227.
Get the right advice
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice to injured workers
- Listen, answer your questions and explain your options
- Recommend the right No Win, No Fee solicitor