Work accident personal injury guide. Winston Solicitors LLP

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1 Work accident personal injury guide Winston Solicitors LLP

2 Work related injury claims Many thousands of people are injured in accidents each year whilst in the workplace. There are thousands more suffering because of exposure to hazardous substances, noise or materials. It would be fair to say that in the majority of cases these injuries could be avoided with adequate safety measures being implemented by the employers or business owners. If you have been injured or suffered harm as a result of your work, you may be able to claim compensation if you can show that your employer has been negligent. It is important that you know your rights and understand what the obligations are for both employer and employee: You have the right... To work in a safe workplace where risks to your health and safety are properly controlled. To stop working and leave the area if you believe you are in danger. To inform your employer about health and safety issues or concerns. To contact HSE or your local authority if you still have concerns and not get into trouble. To join a trade union and be a safety representative. To a rest break of at least 20 minutes if you work more than six hours at a stretch. To an annual period of paid leave. Your employer must... Tell you about risks to your health and wellbeing from current or proposed working practices. Tell you about matters or changes in the workplace that may harm or affect your health and safety. Instruct you on how to do your job safely. Provide adequate training specific to your job. Advise you on what precautions are in place to help protect you. Advise you how to get First-Aid treatment. Inform you clearly what you need to do in an emergency. CLAIMSCONNECTION: Work Accident Guide 1

3 After an accident STEP 1 - Seek medical advice and attention From the official HSE website: The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable First Aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. These Regulations apply to all workplaces including those with five or fewer employees and to the self-employed Your employer should have a trained First Aider on site who should attend to you urgently. You should then attend on the local hospital A&E department or your GP if required. Medical attention is vital for any person suffering an injury and from a legal perspective recording the injury and treatment in this way can also be very important. Step 2 - Report the accident All employers should have an accident book on work premises. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) makes this obligatory. The book known as the BI150 is a valuable document that can be inspected by health & safety representatives or legal representatives. If you have suffered any kind of injury that you believe is related to your job, you must report this to your safety representative or line manager. Not all injuries come from accidents - you should report any INJURY you suffer not just those resulting from an accident. STEP 3 - Gather witness evidence This can be crucial in any legal claim that may follow. If possible record names of any witnesses who saw or heard the injury / accident happen. You may wish to take a photograph of the area where the accident occurred, or the machine / equipment etc that may have caused it. Make notes about what happened and try to reason why. The details could be important and people can very often forget vital information. CLAIMSCONNECTION: Work Accident Guide 2

4 Step 4 - Seek legal advice You may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries and loss of earnings. Many employers do not pay earnings during an absence (only Statutory Sick Pay) and you could be losing out considerably by not making a claim. Please see below. Wages and lost earnings If you have been hurt at work and the accident or injury occurred whilst performing your working duties, you might expect fair treatment from your employer should you undergo an enforced period of absence. Sadly this does not always happen and in our experience it is more common for an employer to take a tough stance with an employee, particularly regarding sick pay. There is no doubt that one of the most common reasons why injured employees decide to make a personal injury claim is because the employer refuses to pay any wages during an enforced period of absence. So what are your rights in this situation? Your rights to sick pay depend very much on the specific wording of your contract of employment. There is no absolute right to full pay whilst you are absent through work related injury. This applies whether the injury was self induced or as a result of negligence on the part of the employee. Some employers will pay "Occupational Sick Pay" as part of their contract which (usually) will entitle the injured party to full or partial pay during an enforced absence. In many cases such contracts do not apply and employers will simply meet their minimum requirements to pay Statutory Sick Pay only. The only way to be certain you will recover all of your losses including earnings or overtime - is to make a personal injury claim by instructing a "no win no fee" lawyer. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can also be a bit of a grey area. This is paid by employers who are contractually obliged to pay the salary (usually in full) of any person absent from work through injury or illness. There is however usually a heavy element of discretion and the employer has CLAIMSCONNECTION: Work Accident Guide 3

5 control over what amounts are paid and for how long. This benefit will normally apply only after a person has been employed for a fixed period of time. Most workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if their employer does not provide occupational sick pay, either at all or, for example, in their first period of service. But SSP is based on a number of rules, including: You must be off sick for four or more consecutive days including weekends. But payment of SSP can only be made for each "qualifying" day. In other words each day that you would normally be expected to work anyway. SSP is not paid for the first three qualifying days in any period of incapacity for work. You must earn more than what is called the Lower earnings Limit (LEL) for National Insurance Contributions (NICs). Your employer has full discretion over whether they pay your wages during your injury related absence. Know your rights in so far as SPP is concerned as this payment can fill a very important pay gap. If you are injured at work you may wish to exercise your right to claim for personal injury and associated losses. This may be the only way you are able to recover all your losses and also receive an award for your pain and suffering. It may not be an easy decision to make but it could in fact be the only decision you can make. Job security? Another huge question for work accident victims is whether they are at risk of losing their job in the event that they make a claim against the employer. CLAIMSCONNECTION: Work Accident Guide 4

6 The truth is that we cannot be certain as to how your employer will react once a claim is made. However you do have certain rights which can vary depending on the length of your service. Our solicitors can talk you through the positives and negatives of the situation. Every case is different, every employer is different but in our opinion YOUR NEEDS and those of your family come first. Many accident victims will have no choice but to claim because of either the extent of their injuries or the fact that they have suffered financial hardship as a result of the same. About our service Winston Solicitors LLP who manage the Claims Connection legal service offer No win No fee advice to claimants injured in the workplace. If you have suffered an injury, we will take on your case if we believe you have reasonable prospects of success. If you win your claim then your legal costs will be paid as part of your settlement and you will receive 100% of your compensation payment. We hope this guide has proved useful in setting out some of the issues you may be faced with following an accident at work. For further advice call the Claims Connection helpline on for immediate legal advice on your case. CLAIMSCONNECTION: Work Accident Guide 5

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