Although night shift work has been a part of life for many people for decades the past five years in particular have seen a major shift in the way businesses operate. With transactions being carried out around the clock to meet demands from all over the world, the traditional 9-5 workdays have been replaced by 24-hour workdays. This means more and more people are working night shifts.
If you have been injured in an accident while working the night shift, you may have grounds to file a night shift injury claim for compensation.
Are Night Shift Workers More Prone To Accidents?
Although people may have become used to the idea of staying awake and working through the night, our bodies aren’t really designed for it. Towards the end of the day, our body clock automatically starts preparing for sleep by slowing down our heart rate and lowering our body temperature. These physiological changes make it challenging to work at our maximum potential at night. Some people manage to adjust their body clock at least to an extent that they do not experience any serious repercussions. Others however, never get to that point and they experience some or all of these side effects that can make them more accident-prone:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Lack of judgment
- Difficulty concentrating or staying focused on the job at hand
- Poorer memory
- Reduced awareness of their surroundings
- Slower reaction time to potentially dangerous situations
- Impaired hand-eye coordination
- Reduced cognitive performance
Any of these side effects could contribute or lead to accidents in the workplace.
In addition to being at higher risk of accidents at work, those who work the night shift are also at higher risk of suffering from certain health conditions including cardiovascular, gastronomical and psychological disorder. They are also more susceptible contracting colds and flus and other minor ailments.
While all workers are at some degree of risk of getting injured at work, those whose shifts extend beyond 8 hours and those who work consecutive nights several nights in a row are at highest risk.
The law holds employers responsible for ensuring that work schedules are properly designed to protect workers’ health and safety.
The HSE And Employer Obligations
According to the Working Time Regulations 1998, the number of hours that employees should be allowed to work during the night shift is limited to an average of 8 hours within a 24-hour period. In addition, night shift workers have the same rights as their day shift colleagues with regards to breaks, rest periods and number of days off.
Designing workers’ schedules in accordance with the rules of the WTR is not your employer’s only obligation. They must also comply with the rules of the HSE, which state that employers must assess the inherent risks present in their particular workplace and put appropriate measures in place to the protect the health and safety of their workers.
If your employer flouts the guidelines laid down by these two legislations and you are injured as a result, your employer may be held liable for paying you compensation if you have a night shift injury claim.
Night Shift Injury Claims Legal Advice
The events immediately preceding and following any night shift accident can be confusing. You may not be sure who was responsible for the accident. Was your employer negligent in their duty of care? Did you contribute in any way to the accident? What are the legal requirements to make a successful night shift injury claim? All of these questions can put workers off from proceeding with filing a claim for their night shift injury, but in reality many of these questions can quite easily be clarified by just speaking to a personal injury solicitor.
Most personal injury solicitors offer all accident victims a complementary initial consultation to help cut through the confusion, determine fault and offer legal advice on what to do next. During this initial consultation, the solicitor will want to know all the details and go through whatever evidence you might have already gathered such as photographs and an accident report. If, in the solicitor’s expert opinion, your odds of winning compensation are very low, they may advise you not to pursue any legal action. On the other hand, if the lawyer finds that you have solid grounds for compensation, they will advise you to go ahead and file a night shift accident claim.
Once you’ve agreed to proceed with your claim, the solicitor will typically offer you the option of working together on a No Win No Fee basis.
What Is A No Win No Fee Night Shift Injury Claim?
A No Win No Fee night shift injury claim is a type of legal contract in which you do not pay any legal fees upfront. Instead, the solicitor covers all expenses associated with your claim. You only pay a success fee if your claim is successful. This success fee is calculated as a percentage of your compensation.
How Much Compensation Can You Expect For Your Night Shift Injury Claim?
Typically, compensation for personal injury claims are awarded under two categories – general damages and special damages.
As a brief explanation, general damages are awarded for pain and suffering, and loss of amenity. Our compensation calculator below demonstrates what levels of compensation are advised by the Judicial College for general damages depending on the severity.
Special damages are awarded for all expenses related to the accident. This might include cost of medical treatment, cost of traveling back and forth for your medical check-ups and treatment, loss of income from being unable to go to work, and cost of any type of mobility aid.
The exact amount of compensation will vary from one claimant to another, depending on various factors such as the extent of your injury and any financial losses you’ve incurred that are directly related to the accident.
If you would like advice on a night shift injury claim from an expert solicitor please get in touch with us today.