An accident at work can have far reaching consequences, from painful, disabling injuries to mounting financial losses and even the inability to pursue favourite hobbies. It’s a scary thought and most workers will take precautions to stay safe at work. Unfortunately, that is not always enough. Sometimes accidents at work happen because of a colleague’s mistake or because the management did not put proper protective measures in place.
If you are injured in an accident at work, you likely have many questions regarding what your rights are and how to make sure those rights are protected. In the UK, there are several legal Acts that have been introduced over the years to protect the rights of workers injured in accidents at work. One of the most important of these laws covers details of employers’ legal responsibilities in regards to workers’ safety.
What Are An Employer’s Legal Responsibilities Regarding Worker Safety?
According to the law, employers have a duty of care towards their workers. Regardless of the nature of your job, the type of workplace, or whether you are a temporary or permanent employee, your employer is legally required to put appropriate measures in place to keep you safe from any type of injury or illness.
These protective measures include providing you with proper training and industry-standard personal protective equipment, conducting regular inspections and maintenance of machinery and equipment, and putting up warning signs where necessary.
If your employer fails in their duty of care towards you and you are injured as a result, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries and more.
Your Rights After An Accident At Work
If you are looking for answers about your rights after an accident at work, the first thing you should know is that you can only claim compensation for no-fault accidents. A no-fault accident is one that is caused because of somebody else’s mistake or negligence. If your injuries were caused by such an accident at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation for all actual and projected expenses and losses related to the accident, and compensation for pain and suffering.
These are some of the main things you can claim compensation for following an accident at work that wasn’t your fault:
- Pain and suffering – The law takes into consideration the fact that there is a certain amount of trauma associated with workplace accidents and has made a provision for injured workers to get compensated for the same.
- Cost of medical treatment – This can include expenses such as consultation fees, costs of any types of diagnostic and laboratory tests, prescription medicine, and non-surgical or surgical procedures. It also includes the projected cost of long-term treatment such as physiotherapy, psychiatric treatment, and any other type of long-term vocational rehabilitation treatment.
- Cost of travel for medical treatment – The cost of travelling to and from your treatment can add up over time and you can claim compensation for the same.
- Loss of income – If your doctor certifies that your injuries do not allow you to get back to work, you should be able to recover your earnings for the entire time that you stayed away from work.
- Work related perks and benefits – Maybe you were due for a raise, a bonus or a promotion. If you missed out on any of these work-related benefits because of your injuries, you should be duly compensated.
- Cost of structural changes – This could include the cost of making any changes inside your home or to your vehicle to accommodate your injuries caused by the accident.
- Loss of amenity – The injuries you receive may prevent you from participating in activities that you previously enjoyed. This can directly affect your quality of life and lead to frustration and depression. There is a provision in the law to cover any loss of amenity that results from an accident at work.
Will I Lose My Job If I Make A Claim?
You shouldn’t need to worry about losing your job if you make a claim for compensation. The law is very clear in this regard. It is illegal for an employer to sack a worker on the basis of them filing a compensation claim following an accident at work. Also, your employer should have procedures for accidents at work and insurance to cover them worker injuries, so your fight will be with your employer’s insurance company and not with your employer directly.
Don’t be surprised if the insurance company approaches you offering you compensation for your injuries even before you ask. What you should know is that they are not doing this from the goodness of their heart. They are only doing this to protect themselves from having to make a larger payout in the future. No matter how generous the settlement looks, do not take it. For one thing, it is sure to be lower than what you are legally entitled to. Secondly, if you read the fine print you will see that if you accept their settlement offer, you cannot then file a claim for any more compensation.
Before you sign a settlement or any other document after an accident at work, you should speak with a personal injury solicitor. A personal injury solicitor will give you expert advice as to what your rights are after an accident at work.