What to do if you can’t work due to an injury

Construction workers working on a roof

When you suffer an accident at your place of employment, hopefully you will be back on your feet and returning to work in no time. However some larger injuries will cause you to have to take a substantial amount of time to recover from, leading you to having to take sick leave.

According to the Government statistics during 2018/2019 138,000 accidents in the workplace left the victim unable to work for more than seven days. 

It can be a difficult time for all involved, especially when you are not sure what your legal rights are and you have bills to pay. 

For a claim to be successful you will need to be able to show that the injury was caused by negligence from your employer. You may also be able to raise a claim if you are partly to blame.

Documenting the accident and injury

In the immediate aftermath of the injury it is vital that you record the incident in the Company’s accident record book. You must be the one to give the details of what took place and you must not be pressured to give a statement that is untrue. You may also wish to take photos of your injury and the space in which it took place, including any equipment that has failed. 

You must then seek medical attention. There should be a First Aid trained member of staff and they will be able to help advise you on whether you should contact your GP or if indeed this is an injury that needs to be treated at hospital. 

Returning to work

In the days and weeks, possibly even months that follow, you must not return to work if you are not fit enough to be able to carry out your responsibilities safely. Returning to work when you are not ready could lead to more accidents. Your employer cannot threaten your job if you are physically unable to return. 

What about sick pay? 

It will be stated in your contract with your company how much sick pay you are entitled to and for how long. This varies between different companies. However all employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 

You will be given a sick note from your doctor treating your injury. This will need to be passed to your employer. If you come to the end date on your sick note but are still not fit enough to return, your doctor will be able to issue you another one. 

Can I claim compensation?

All workers should be protected from accidents and injuries whilst at work and these rights are heavily protected. If your injury is minor and you are able to return to work in a few days compensation might not even cross your mind.

However in cases where your injury is substantial and you are unable to work for months or even sometimes longer, you may want to make a claim for compensation. Of course no amount of money will take your injury away but it can go some way to helping take away some of the financial burden. 

For a claim to be successful you will need to be able to show that the injury was caused by negligence from your employer. You may also be able to raise a claim if you are partly to blame, for example, if the accident was your fault, however you were working on a piece of machinery that had been raised to your employer as potentially faulty. All claims do need to be raised within three years from the date of the accident, unless the victim is a child, in that circumstance the child has until their twenty-first birthday to bring the claim. 

  • You are given a proper induction at the start of your employment. 
  • You are given adequate training. 
  • You are given the correct Personal Protective and Safety Equipment. 
  • That there is the correct staffing levels and that all staff are given adequate breaks. 
  • That there are First Aid trained members of staff. 
  • That they act when reports are raised of potential faults on machines or equipment. 
  • That they maintain all machines and equipment and that these are serviced regularly. 

You may worry that by raising a claim for compensation that you may put your employment in jeopardy. Legally an employer cannot dismiss you from your position due to you making a claim against them. They also are not able to 

  • Bully or harass you.
  • Overlook you for a promotion.
  • Demote you.

In the circumstance where your employer did try to use your employment against you for raising a claim this would be grounds for constructive dismissal. 

Your Solicitor will not be able to tell you how much compensation you are entitled to or even be able to guarantee that you will win your case. It is also a very personal decision that no one can make but yourself. Although it may seem like daunting and long process compensation can go a long way to helping with your rehabilitation and future medical needs and your legal team will be with you every step of the way. 

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