Most employees and workers know they have a legal right to claim compensation if they have been injured in a workplace accident that was caused by somebody else’s mistake or negligence. However, when that time comes, many workers hesitate to pursue a compensation claim for fear that they may lose their job. If you, like many others, are wondering if you can be dismissed after accident at work for making a work injury claim, the short answer is no, legally you can’t.
Here’s a more detailed look at the legalities involved, your employer’s duty of care and how you are protected against unfair dismissal after an accident at work.
Your Employer’s Legal Responsibilities – Duty Of Care
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers have a legal duty of care towards their employees. This means that employers are legally required to ensure the safety of their workers while they are at work.
To comply with this duty of care, employers are required to:
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that all workers are safe and free from any harm in the workplace. This includes conducting extensive risk assessments of the workplace and putting in place appropriate safety measures to minimise the identified risks.
- Providing workers with regular training on how to carry out working procedures and how to use different equipment without risk of injury.
- Providing workers with appropriate personal protective equipment depending on the types of tasks they will be performing.
If your employer fails in any of these aspects and you suffer an injury or illness as a result of their negligence, you have a legal right to pursue a claim for compensation.
Under UK law, workers cannot be dismissed after accident at work simply because they have filed or are planning to file a personal injury compensation claim. If your employer fires you or threatens to fire you, you may then have legal grounds to add unfair dismissal to your compensation claim.
Claiming Compensation After An Accident At Work
Just because you are entitled to file a work injury claim doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be awarded compensation. There are several things you need to do to ensure that your claim is successful. If you are planning on pursuing legal action after an accident at work, doing all of the following will help strengthen your claim:
- File a formal accident report – For your claim to be successful, there should be a formal record of the accident. Every workplace is required to keep an accident book or report book. Create a written record with details of your injuries and how the accident happened. You will need to submit this record as proof when filing your claim.
- Get photographs of the scene of the accident and your injuries – Photographic evidence is always strong evidence and will make it difficult for your employer to dispute your claim. If you are too severely injured to get photographs, ask a fellow employee to take the photos for you.
- Get medical attention for your injuries – Do this even if your injuries don’t seem too serious at the time. You may have internal injuries that may not be visible immediately after the accident but may affect you at a later date. The medical records also lend crucial support to your accident at work claim.
- Speak with a personal injury solicitor – If you lack the knowledge and experience of personal injury law, filing a claim for compensation is not something you might want to attempt by yourself. You may unknowingly make a mistake that could get your claim dismissed at the outset. Specialist, experienced solicitors who work solely on claims related to accidents and injuries at work are experts in this particular area of personal injury law. They will let you know if your claim has merit, advise you on how to proceed correctly, and most important of all, make sure that your claim is for the maximum amount you are entitled to.
Doing the right things after an accident at work will help lay a solid foundation for your claim and also make it more difficult for your employer to dismiss you.
What If You’re Harassed After Accident At Work?
Maybe your employer is aware of the consequences if the sack you for starting a compensation claim and instead of dismissing you they harass you at work in the hope that you will hand in your resignation. If this happens, don’t give in to their tactics and don’t give up hope. You have the law on your side and the best way to exercise your legal rights is to consult with an experienced personal injury solicitor. Your solicitor will help you file a successful claim for unfair dismissal in addition to your accident at work compensation claim.