What are my rights if I am injured at work?

A welding mask and gloves on a work bench

We tend to walk through life thinking “It will never happen to me.” As much as we would all love that to be true, the fact that during 2018/2019 in the United Kingdom, there were 581,000 accidents in the workplace according to the Governments statics. 138,000 of these required the injured party to be off work for more than seven days. 

Once you have obtained some legal advice they will be able to look at all of the information and advise you on whether you have a solid case to move forward with.

Unfortunately accidents do happen but what do you do when you believe that this could have been avoided by your employer? The good news is that you are not alone and that you are legally entitled to several things. 

All Professions Are Entitled. 

Whether you are employed full time or part time, a permanent member of staff or just in a temporary position, you are still entitled to the same treatment.

It also doesn’t matter what line of work you are in. Construction worker, NHS staff, Officer workers or Engineers. Everyone deserves to be safe and protected whilst they carry out their job. 

Recording the Accident.

The process for an accident, injury or illness at work must be recorded in the company’s accident book.

You, as the injured party, must be the one to detail the injury. You must not be pressured to give an untrue statement and it is important that you do not sign a declaration that you believe to be false. 

Initial Medical Treatment.

Your employer must allow you to seek medical attention in the immediate aftermath of the injury.

The First Aider on site would be able to help you decide whether it is your GP you need to see or whether your injury is severe enough that you need treatment at hospital. 

Longer Lasting Treatment. 

Following on from the immediate medical treatment, if you return to work but still need to attend Out-Patient appointments you legally must be allowed time off for these without risk to your job.

Your employer cannot pressurise you to miss these appointments for fear of being let go from your position.

Return to Work.

If you are not able to return to work straight away, your employer must allow you the time you need to recuperate. Returning to work too early could cause further accidents or injuries.

How much sick pay you are entitled to does vary between employers and will be in your contract with them. However all employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You will need to provide your employer with a sick note from your doctor. 

Compensation. 

As the injured party it is completely at your discretion whether you would like to claim for compensation. If the injury is small and you are able to return to work relatively quickly you may not want to go down this route.

However with injuries that require you to be off work for a significant period of time, causing you loss of earnings and considerable physical and psychological distress this may be something that you want to look into. 

All employers have a legal responsibility to keep their staff safe. To be able to claim compensation you would need to be able to prove that it was their negligence that led to your injury. 

  • Did you have a full induction at the start of your employment?
  • Did you have adequate training of any machines and equipment you were required to use?
  • Were you provided with the correct Personal Safety and Protective equipment (PPE) that was required to ensure your safety?
  • Were the machines and equipment on site maintained properly?
  • Does the company have the correct staffing levels with adequate breaks for each member of staff?
  • Are there First Aid trained members of staff on site?
  • Did your employer act on any previous reports of potential risks that were raised to them?

Many people will worry that they have to choose between making a claim for compensation and their employment. In fact it is illegal for an employer to threaten your job if you make a claim and could be grounds for constructive dismissal. Not only are you protected from being let go from your position, you are also protected from –

  • Bullying and harassment.
  • Being overlooked for a promotion. 
  • Being demoted. 
  • Being discriminated against. 

Obviously choosing whether to claim for compensation is a very personal matter and not everyone will want to choose this avenue. However if you do think that you have a claim then you should contact your Solicitor or a Personal Injury Claim Specialists. Most claims need to be made within three years from the date of the accident, although it is always better to proceed earlier rather than later whilst the details are still fresh in your mind. 

Once you have obtained some legal advice they will be able to look at all of the information and advise you on whether you have a solid case to move forward with. Many of these specialists work on a no win no fee basis so if you are off work and worrying about the expense of a legal case, you do have options available to you. 

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