Can I Get Compensation After A Serious Accident At Work?

Serious accident at work

Serious accident at work

Do you need help getting compensation after a serious accident at work? Were you harmed in a severe or life-altering way because of something your employer failed to do? This article explains the legal expectations for employers under the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974 and what is needed to start a claim for compensation against a negligent employer.

If your employer failed to protect your health and safety whilst on the job and you suffered because of it, we can help. At Public Interest Lawyers we could connect you with a personal injury solicitor to look at your case today. Find out if we can assist by:

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Serious Accident At Work?
  2. What Is A Serious Injury?
  3. Who Could Claim For A Serious Accident At Work?
  4. What Duty Of Care Does Your Employer Have?
  5. Check How Much You Could Claim For A Serious Accident At Work
  6. Get In Touch To Check If You Can Make A No Win No Fee Claim

What Is A Serious Accident At Work?

A serious accident at work could be any event that causes sufficient injury or illness to require longer than 7 days off work. All serious injuries at work must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive through the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). This requires employers, and others in control of workplaces to report and record:

  • A work-related accident that causes death
  • Work-related accidents which cause certain serious injuries (called ‘reportable injuries’)
  • As well as the duty to report certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ or incidents that have the potential to cause harm.

‘Reportable injuries’ could include injuries or illnesses that cause serious harm. This includes certain types of fractures, amputation, permanent loss of sight or hearing, internal organ damage, asphyxiation, or significant burns.

Occupational injuries such as exposure to asbestos or carcinogens may need to be reported. Furthermore, any serious accident at work that results in admittance to the hospital for longer than 24 hours needs to be reported.

What Is A Serious Injury?

Serious injuries are also referred to as ‘catastrophic injuries’ and include anything that has an enduring effect on the injured person or their family. Therefore, it could include:

  • Any type of head injury or brain damage
  • Significant soft tissue tears or lacerations
  • Spinal damage or any kind of paralysis
  • Crushing, amputation, or degloving of flesh
  • Significant blood loss
  • Unconsciousness
  • Burns that cover more than 10% of the body
  • Suffocation or breathing issues
  • Loss of sight, hearing, or speech
  • Multiple or complex injuries

Whilst there is no exact definition of a ‘serious injury’ other  general interpretations can include:

  • Any type of injury that causes an individual to be kept in hospital as an in-patient for an extended period of time
  • Or requires surgery
  • Injuries that are likely to cause long-lasting (or permanent) pain
  • An injury that will negatively impact the person’s current ability to work or cause future work limitations.
  • A type of injury that changes their current level of well-being and independence, either temporarily or permanently.

Who Could Claim For A Serious Accident At Work?

If an employee can demonstrate how a health and safety failure directly injured them they could potentially make a claim. In the section below we look in detail at what an employer’s duty of care is to their staff but if there was clear and demonstrable failure to implement health and safety laws, then the employer could be liable to compensate you.

There are time limits to claim for an accident at work. Under the Limitation Act 1980, adults have 3 years to start a claim. This period can start from when the accident happened or the date that its negative effects became known to you (date of knowledge). If under 18, this period can start from the date of your 18th birthday giving you until 21 years old to claim. If you want to make a claim before 18 you will need a litigation friend to do it on your behalf.

Also, there are exceptions for people who lack the capacity to represent themselves. In cases such as serious brain injury after a serious accident at work, another party can represent the victim’s interests in the claim as a litigation friend. Speak to our team to learn more about who can do this.

What Duty Of Care Does Your Employer Have?

Under Section 2 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, all UK employers have a legal duty to provide and maintain work systems that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, and without risks to health. Employers could carry out this duty by;

  • Making arrangements for ensuring safety and the absence of risks to health as it relates to the handling, use, transportation, and storage of substances or materials.
  • To provide adequate training, instruction, and supervision regarding health and safety
  • Conduct regular risk assessments to pre-empt hazards
  • Meet with HSE representatives and consult with staff to act quickly upon areas of concern

An employer could fail to maintain machinery or provide inadequate training and supervision. They may neglect to risk assess premises and procedures or fail to display safety signage in a clear and obvious way. These could be clear breaches of duty that form the basis of a claim if you were seriously injured.

It’s essential to note that under the same Act employees also have duties to ensure that they comply with safety guidance and behave accordingly while at work. If the employer disputes that you were not acting in accordance with your health and safety obligations, your claim could be challenged.

Check How Much You Could Claim For A Serious Accident At Work

After a serious accident at work that was not your fault, you could pursue a compensation claim against your employer independently. Or with the help of a personal injury solicitor. If you choose to engage the services of a lawyer they can arrange for you to sit for an independent medical appointment to assess your injuries. This will create a report that can be used as evidence in your claim.

The table below is an excerpt from the Judicial College Guidelines. This publication lists guideline compensation brackets for injuries to acknowledge the pain, distress, and lifestyle damage caused i.e. general damages:

Injuryseverityguideline compensation awardnotes
brain damagevery severe£264,650 to £379,10024 hour reliance for basic needs, permanent disability
necksevere (i)In the region of
incomplete paraplegia or resulting in permanent spastic quadriparesis.
backsevere (i)£85,470 to £151,070spinal cord and nerve damage, severe pain and disability
armsevere£90,250 to £122,860almost requiring amputation
pelvissevere (i)£73,580 to £122,860extensive fractures of the pelvis
legsevere (i)£90,320 to £127,530serious loss of tissue, gross leg shortening and bone graft
chest injurychest, lung(s), and/or heart (b)£61,710 to £94,470traumatic injury causing permanent damage and impairment of function
kidneyserious (a)£158,970 to £197,480permanent damage to both kidneys
eyestotal blindness (b)In the region of
permanent and complete loss of sight in both eyes
burnssevereLikely to exceed
burns that cover more than 40% of the body

Please be aware, these brackets of damages are not certified awards – only guidelines.

In addition to general damages, you can include proof of financial harm. ‘Special damages’ require documented evidence to show how you lost or needed to use money whilst trying to cope with your injuries.

Perhaps you suffered a loss of earnings or had to pay for medical treatments unavailable on the NHS? With the correct receipts, payslips, or proof of purchase, it can be possible to request these sums back as part of your settlement.

Get In Touch To Check If You Can Make A No Win No Fee Claim

At Public Interest Lawyer we could connect you with a personal injury specialist today. You could benefit from legal representation under a No Win No Fee agreement (or Conditional Fee Agreement) which means:

  • You don’t have to pay upfront fees to hire a solicitor
  • No hidden costs
  • If for some reason your claim is unsuccessful, there are no fees due to a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor at all
  • A case that wins requires a maximum fee of 25% to cover the solicitor’s costs

No Win No Fee can enable you to appoint a solicitor regardless of your financial position. Solicitors can also offer you advice and support when returning to work. Why not get in touch to see how we could help you after a serious accident at work? It’s free to enquire, totally confidential, and could help you:

Serious Accident and Injury Claim Resources