The following is a guest post on behalf of a U.K. solicitor. This information does not apply to those injured in the U.S.
Each employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthful work environment for employees. This includes providing workers with protective equipment, installing safety measures to prevent accidents. Employers should also provide training for employees about safe work practices that are appropriate to specific work environments.
Nonetheless, and despite anyone’s best efforts, accidents can and do occur. If you have been hurt in an accident at work, or have suffered injuries caused by conditions associated with your work, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, to make a successful claim, you must document your condition and demonstrate that your injuries are related to your work.
When accidents or injuries occur, an accurate account of the incident should be recorded in the employer’s accident book. The injured employee should sign the entry only if he or she agrees with the described account of the accident. Ambulance and physician records should accompany the accident description. Similarities to past workplace accidents should also be recorded in the accident book.
Conditions that may have led to the accident should also be included with the accident description. Examples include water leaks that contributed to slippery floors or broken machinery that may have malfunctioned. Once the accident has been properly documented, it is up to the injured worker to file a claim for compensation.
Establishing the Claim
In an emergency situation, of course the main priority is to obtain medical treatment as quickly as possible. However, once the emergency has passed, or with injuries that do not pose life-threatening circumstances, it is essential to adhere to established protocol for establishing a claim for workplace injury compensation. Following the proper procedure for filing your claim will greatly improve your chances of success.
- Report the accident to your employer as soon as possible after receiving medical attention for your injuries. If you are a member of a union, you should also report the accident to your union representative.
- Complete a workplace questionnaire. Attend to this step as soon as possible after the accident while the incident is still fresh to ensure an accurate description.
- In the case of apparently minor injuries that do not require emergency treatment, have the injury checked out at the infirmary or with the worker’s GP. Keep a log of any symptoms you have, including dates which they occur.
- Collect evidence and witness testimony. Take photographs of the accident scene and collect any broken equipment. Obtain statements of eyewitnesses to the incident as exactly as possible.
- File a formal report with your employer and insurance company. The more accurate and complete the report, the better your chances for compensation
- If you will be absent from work for three days or more as a result of your injuries, your employer must report your accident to the Health and Safety Executive
- Meet with a workplace solicitor. Discuss your options in case your employer disagrees with your account of the accident or attempts to deny your claim.
A possible complicating factor in establishing a workplace injury claim is the presence of pre-existing conditions that might have contributed to the injury or made the effects of the injury worse than they would have been without the pre-existing condition. While a pre-existing condition will not negate a legitimate workplace injury claim, employers may claim reduced liability, or a judge may reduce the amount of compensation an employee may receive.
For example, if an employee suffers an accident while driving a company vehicle on company business, the discovery of faulty steering or braking equipment in the vehicle would provide substantial evidence in favor of an employee workplace injury compensation claim. However, if the accident investigation also uncovered the fact that the employee had been drinking immediately prior to the accident, the employer may claim and the judge may agree that impaired reflexes also contributed to the accident.
Disclaimer: This article provides a general discussion of workplace accident compensation claims. It is not intended to represent legal opinion or offer legal advice. Please consult with a solicitor specializing in work accident compensation with specific questions concerning your personal circumstances.
About Author: Hugh Edmundson is an independent legal researcher. He has recently been researching developments with regards to compensation claims and reporting his findings on online legal publications. For further reading on making a work accident compensation claim, visit the link.