Accidents at Work
In spite of a wealth of Health & Safety legislation designed to protect people whilst at work, the fact remains that, according to data published by the Health & Safety Executive, in 2009-10 some 5.1 million working days were lost due to workplace related injuries.
The sad truth is that many accidents at work are avoidable and only occur as a result of negligence on the part of employers and / or the failure of employers to comply with the Statutory Duties owed by all employers to their employees.
At Common Law all employees have a duty to provide their employees with things such as:-
- suitable training;
- care in the selection and training of fellow employees;
- competent supervision;
- a safe place of work;
- a safe and suitable system of work;
- Plant and machinery that is safe to use.
In addition, as a result of Health and Safety Legislation introduced by Parliament employers are also subject to a whole host of “Statutory Duties” contained within Regulations covering a wide range of matters including, for example:-
- a duty to undertake Risk Assessments;
- a duty to provide training;
- a duty to provide Protective Personal Equipment;
- unsafe workplaces;
- trips or slips on unsafe surfaces within the workplace;
- lifting and other forms of “Manual Handling” at work;
- working at height;
- injuries due to falling objects;
- the safety, suitability and maintenance of Work Equipment;
- accidents involving defective, inadequately maintained or unguarded Plant or Machinery;
- exposure to hazardous substances.
It is not just employers who owe Duties of Care to workers. For example, employees who undertake work away form the premises of their own employer are owed duties by not only their employer but also the individual or business responsible for the land or premises visited by the employee in the course of their employment.
Special Health & Safety legislation applies to accidents occurring on Construction Sites, and in this situation workers are owed duties by not only their employers but also, for example, by the Main Contractor responsible for the Construction Site as a whole. Accordingly, in this scenario even a Self-Employed worker may, for example, be entitled to make a Personal Injury Claim against a Main Contractor in they sustain injury as a result of the Construction Site being unsafe.
Employers Liability Insurance
Employers are required by law to maintain Employers Liability Insurance. Accordingly, if you pursue a Personal Injury claim against your employer it will generally be an Insurance Company, and not your employer, which actually deals with and meets the Personal Injury claim.
If employers fail to comply with their obligations in respect of Employers Liability Insurance that may result in them being exposed to personally liability.
Some important matters to bear in mind if you intend to make a Personal Injury claim
- Ensure that details of your accident are entered in the Accident Book (although if the details are not actually completed by you we would advice against putting your signature to details completed by a third party – because we frequently encounter situations where, in the cold light of day, our clients advice us that they do not necessarily agree with the version of events set out in an Accident Book entry to which they may have been invited to put their signature);
- If you have sustained a Major Injury, or a less severe injury which nevertheless prevents you from working for a period of at least three days, ensure that your employer has discharged their obligation to submit a “RIDDOR Report” to the Health & Safety Executive in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (this duty also applies in the case of accidents at work resulting in death);
- Always take independent legal advice from specialist Personal Injury Solicitors, such as Woolliscrofts Solicitors, before signing any documents which may be presented to you by your employer following an accident at work – such as an Accident Report Form, Witness Statement or even a document agreeing to provide you with Sick Pay to which you do not have a Statutory or Contractual entitlement (we have, for example, seen situations where an employer gets their employee to sign a document agreeing not to pursue any Personal Injury claim against them in return for receiving enhanced Sick Pay);
- Take photographs of your injuries (remembering to keep a note of who took the photographs and the date upon which the photographs were actually taken);
- Keep a daily journal of your pain and suffering and how the accident and/or resulting injury generally and specifically affects your life;
- Keep any evidence for payments made as a result of the accident and/or injury including, but not limited to quotations, receipts cheque stubs, bank statements and the like;
- Keep a record of any journeys which you have to make for reasons relation to your accident and/or resulting injuries (such as, for example, journeys to and from appointments at the Hospital or with your General Practitioner), i.e. the date of each journey and the number of miles travelled (obviously journeys by Bus or Taxi would fall under the previous category of items of expenditure in respect of which you should keep Bus Tickets or Taxi Receipts);
- Be aware that the other side may attempt to use video surveillance to video you to try and show that your injuries are not as serious as you or your medical evidence suggests which could ultimately reduce the compensation that you would otherwise be entitled to.
It is extremely important to bear in mind the fact that strict time limits exist in relation to making all types of Personal Injury claims - and different rules apply in respect of certain types of claim and, indeed, in relation to different categories of Claimant (such as adults, children) and, indeed, depending upon other factors (such as whether or not the are suffering from Mental Incapacity or, in a limited circumstances, the actual or presumed “Date of Knowledge” of the Claimant of certain matters)
Getting in touch
Contact Woolliscrofts on 01782 204000 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 97 87,
There is no charge for an initial enquiry, and contacting us does not commit you to using our services.