A guide to making a work accident claim
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 1.7m people were suffered from a work injury or illness between 2020 and 2021.
If you have been injured at work, you may be able to claim certain benefits as well as financial compensation for your injury.
The following guide explains your rights following a work injury and what you need to do to make a successful compensation claim.
Why it's so important to seek medical attention
If you are injured in a work accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
You should make an appointment even if you don't think your injuries are particularly serious:
A doctor or medical professional will:
- Assess the severity of your injuries, recommend suitable treatments or refer you to a specialist if needed.
- Determine whether any existing injuries or health conditions could be affected your accident.
- Make a medical record of your injuries. This medical report can be critical evidence should you decide to make a work injury compensation claim.
Why is medical evidence so important?
Medical evidence is a key part of making a work accident claim.
A personal injury will need to establish that your injuries resulted from the work accident.
In order to work out how much compensation you should receive, your solicitor will also need to know:
- What injuries you suffered
- The seriousness of your injuries
- Whether your accident made any existing injuries worse
Some workers decide to make a claim months or years after the accident - perhaps after their injuries have healed.
Medical records from the time of the accident, can help to prove the severity of your.
However, even if you didn't seek medical attention at the time, your solicitor will usually arrange for you to see an independent medical expert. This expert could be a GP or specialist, depending on the type of injury.
The medical expert will then write an injury report, detailing the severity of your injuries, and what impact they have had on your life and your ability to work.
How 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.
However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that even minor accidents should be reported.
If you are injured at work, you should 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.
You should make sure that the details of your accident are then reported in your employer's accident book.
If you decide to make a work accident compensation claim, the work accident book report can be used as supporting evidence for a work injury claim.
What should the report include?
The accident book report should include:
- How the accident happened
- When and where the accident happened
- Who was injured
- Details of any injuries
Work accidents should be reported, regardless of who or what caused the accident, and who was injured.
Do I have a work accident claim?
As a basic rule, you could make a claim for compensation if:
- you were injured in the last 3 years, and
- another party was to blame, and
- that party owed you a 'duty of care'.
Your employer owes you a legal 'duty of care'. If your employer failed in their duty of care and you were injured as a result, your employer will be held liable.
What if I was partly at fault?
Even if your accident was caused by a mistake you made, or due to carelessness or a lapse in judgement, you can usually still claim work injury compensation from your employer under the principle of vicarious liability.
What if the injury was caused by a colleague?
In the UK, employers have a legal ‘duty of care’ for the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees. Employers must take reasonable steps to protect their employees from foreseeable harm.
Employers duty of care cannot be delegated or outsourced to another person or organisation. Similarly, this duty cannot fall on another employee.
Under the common law principle of ‘vicarious liability’, an employer can be found to be liable for the actions, inactions, negligence or recklessness of one of their employees.
Vicarious liability means that your employer is liable even if, for example, you were hurt because of another employee’s carelessness, or because your manager told you to do something dangerous. Under the principle of vicarious liability, you would still make a claim against your employer, not the individual.
Will my employment status affect my right to claim?
You may have been injured at work when working as a temp or agency worker. Perhaps you were employed on a zero-hours contract. Whatever your employment status, your employer owes you the same duty of care and a work injury claim should still be possible.
Depending on the circumstances, it may even be possible to make a compensation claim as a self-employed worker or contractor.
Find out more:
Keeping records will help your claim
Writing a detailed account of what happened when you were injured will help you to:
- Claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and benefits
- Make a work injury compensation claim
If your employer disagrees with your version of events, it will help your claim if you wrote everything down.
Even if you think you won't make a claim, it is still good idea to make a record of events while they are fresh in your mind.
What should I make a record of?
Create a file and write down and keep as much of the following information as possible:
- A written account of what happened
- Why you think your employer was negligent
- Witness statements
- Names and contact details of witnesses
- A photograph or photocopy of the accident book form
- Supporting photos e.g. any hazards at the accident scene
- Medical reports (ask the medical professional for written details every time you get medical attention)
- A diary of symptoms and events
- When and where you have needed help from others
- An ongoing written account of all of the ways in which your injuru has impacted your life and the lives of any dependents
- All correspondence, such as SMS messages, emails and letters from the insurance company
- CCTV footage (if you manage to obtain any)
How much work injury compensation can I claim?
Calculating the amount of compensation you could receive can be complicated. Compensation is calculated by adding general damages and special damages together, then deducting any success fees you agree with your personal injury solicitor.
Our injury compensation calculator refers 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
What are general and special damages?
Making a personal injury claim is a legal process which endeavours to put you back in the same position you were in before your accident.
Financial compensation can never really make up for the ordeal of being injured at work. Compensation can, however, help you and your family cope with the challenges that follow an injury.
Compensation awards are broken down into 2 parts:
General damages are awarded for any pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) you experience as a result of your injuries. General damages are calculated based on the type and seriousness of your injuries.
Special damages is the legal term for compensation for financial costs and losses resulting from your accident. You should keep hold of any payslips, tickets and receipts as evidence to support your compensation claim.
You can claim compensation for any losses and expenses
You can claim 'special damages' compensation for any financial costs and losses you incur as a direct result of your accident.
For example, you could claim for:
- Loss of earnings
- 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 doctor's and hospital appointments
- Repair or replacement of damaged property
Keep hold of any receipts and invoices. Your solicitor will use these receipts as evidence in support of the special damages part of your claim.
Can I claim for disability support?
You will be able to claim for the cost of any care and support you need as a result of your accident.
You could even claim for any necessary alterations to your home, such as:
- Fitting stair rails
- The installation of ramps if you are unable to use stairs
- Widening doors
- Lowering and moving cupboards
It may even be the case that your existing home is no longer suitable and cannot be suitably altered. In such cases, you may be able to claim for moving costs.
Claiming for loss of earnings
You can claim for any lost wages if you had to take time off work.
If you had to take a long time off work and it your career prospects or chances of promotion were affected, you may also be able to claim compensation.
A loss of earnings claim can also include:
- Loss of overtime
- Loss of commission
- Loss of bonuses
- Loss of pension contributions
Can I claim any other benefits after a work accident?
In addition to claiming work injury compensation, you may also be able to claim you may also be able to claim certain benefits, depending on the circumstances of your injury.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you are unable to work after your injury, you can claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can claim £99.35 a week for a maximum of 28 weeks. SSP is paid by your employer.
To qualify for SSP, you must:
- Be employed (full or part-time)
- Have a contract of employment
- Be off work for 4 or more consecutive days (including weekends)
- Earn at least £123 a week (on average)
- You must also have told your employer, and shown them proof of your injury
You should also check you contract of employment as you may be entitled to contractual sick pay.
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)
If you are made ill or have a disability because of a work accident, you can claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).
When you apply for IIDB, a medical advisor will assess your level of disablement on a scale of 20% to 100%.The weekly amount you will receive will range from £37.72 to £199.60.
If you need help from a carer, the carer can claim £69.70 a week in Carer's Allowance. Your carer does not have to be a family member and does not need to live with you. The carer will need to provide 35 hours or more of care per week to qualify.
Are benefits enough?
Government benefits paid to injured workers following a work accident are not sufficient to live on if you cannot work.
Benefits are not designed to compensate you for any pain, suffering or loss of amenity you experience as a result of your injury.
For the above reasons, most workers choose to make a no win, no fee claim against their employer. Injury compensation would be paid by the employer's insurer
Making a No Win, No Fee compensation claim
No win no fee means there is no financial risk when making a work accident claim.
If your claim is successful
If you win your No Win, No Fee claim, your solicitor will receive a success fee. The success fee will can be up to (but cannot exceed) a maximum of 25% of your compensation. The success fee will be deducted from your compensation award.
If your claim is not successful
There are no legal fees, costs or expenses to pay if your No Win, No Fee claim is not successful. At the start of your No Win, No Fee claim, your personal injury solicitor will take out legal expenses insurance on your behalf. If your claim is not successful, all costs ,including the defendant's legal fees, are covered by this insurance policy.
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