When you suffer an accident at work it can have a knock on effect on your whole life. You may be left with a life altering injury, you may suffer financially, emotionally and physically and you may be unable to return to work for weeks or even months. It can affect your relationships and confidence but when the accident was from the result of negligence on the part of your employer, the law is on your side.
You may be going down the route of claiming for compensation and wondering just how long it will take. Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules for this. Each case will vary and the amount of time it takes to reach a settlement is very much based on how cooperative each party is and whether your employer accepts liability.
Unfortunately no one will be able to guarantee how long your case will take to reach a conclusion. By consulting with a Solicitor who specialises in Personal Injury claims they will be able to advise you on whether you have a solid case.
Your employers responsibilities
Your employer is legally bound to ensure that their employees are safe and protected whilst at work. They must –
- Ensure that you are given a full induction when you begin your employment.
- They must provide you with adequate training.
- They must ensure that you are given the correct Personal Protective and Safety Equipment. (PPE)
- They should ensure that they have the correct staffing levels and that everyone has adequate break times.
- They must have First Aid trained members of staff. The HSE recommends one First Aid trained member of staff for every 50 employees.
- They must maintain all machines and equipment.
- They must make sure that all the relevant risk assessments are carried out where appropriate.
- They must act, in a timely manner, on any reports of potential faults on machines or equipment that are raised with them.
If they fail to comply with these standards and you suffer an accident, they are liable and you are able to claim for compensation. If circumstances arise where the accident was your fault but they are still partly responsible you may also be able to make a claim. For example, if the accident was your fault but you were not given the correct PPE to use.
Timescales for making a claim
All claims for compensation need to be made within three years from the date of the accident.
Some people may prefer to start the process as soon as possible whilst the information is still fresh in their memory, although in cases where you suffer a severe injury and your future prognosis is still uncertain you may be asked to wait before starting your claim. This is so you can be sure that you will receive the relevant amount of compensation that is required for not only the severity of your injury but any future care needs that you may require.
Who is responsible for communications with your employer?
Once you start your claim, your Solicitor will take over communication with your employer.
It can sometimes be a worry, when deciding whether or not to raise a claim about whether it will affect your employment. Legally your employer cannot dismiss you from your position. If they did, you would be able to raise a separate dispute for constructive dismissal.
How long does a claim take?
The length of time a case can take to reach a settlement can be as short as three months or sometimes as long as two years. If your employer accepts liability and your claim can be settled out of Court, this is obviously the quickest option.
However on occasions, your employer will not accept liability or the amount of money that is offered as a settlement is not deemed enough, in these cases your Solicitor would need to take the claim to Court where a Judge will then decide the outcome. In these cases, the length of time increases significantly.
Another factor that can slow your claim down is where the Health and Safety Executive decides to prosecute your employer. Usually this case will need to be resolved first before yours can then start.
Unfortunately no one will be able to guarantee how long your case will take to reach a conclusion. By consulting with a Solicitor who specialises in Personal Injury claims they will be able to advise you on whether you have a solid case but they will also be able to walk you through the entire process. The Health & Safety Law is heavily protected and no one should have to suffer due to an accident that could have been prevented with the correct procedures in place.