Working the night shift can come with its own set of risks and hazards such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, and other health problems. Therefore, employers are legally obliged to follow safety regulations to protect the health and safety of all their employees. Importantly, if you’ve been injured in an accident while working the night shift due to the negligence of your employer, you may be eligible to make a night shift injury claim.
To learn more about claiming compensation for an accident while working a night shift, please read on. Alternatively, call us on 0800 6524 881 if you’d like to speak with a specialist right away.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Night Shift Injury Claim?
- Common Causes Of Accidents On Night Shift
- Common Injuries To Night Shift Workers
- What Actions Can Employers Take To Negate Injuries On Night Shifts
- How Much Compensation For A Night Shift Injury Claim?
- Evidence To Support A Night Shift Injury Claim
- Time Limits For Work Injury Claims
- Starting The Night Shift Injury Claims Process
Your employer has a duty of care to keep you safe in the workplace, if they fail and you become injured, you may wish to consult with our claims advisors to discuss making a claim for compensation and how best to proceed.
Before offering to pursue your night shift injury claim on your behalf, an advisor will first assess whether:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care; and
- Your employer’s negligence led to the incident on your night shift; and
- You were injured as a direct result of your employer’s negligence.
Employees have a right to work in a safe working environment. If the employer fails to provide this, it may result in a legal action being brought against them.
To ensure night shift workers are protected from injuries, employers must adhere to two key pieces of legislation:
- The Working Time Regulations (WTR) 1998 The Working Time Regulations 1998.
- The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
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 regard 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 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.
There are a number of different causes of night shift accidents for which you might be able to sue for compensation, including:
- Fatigue – Working irregular hours or not being given adequate rest breaks can lead to fatigue. This can impair concentration, reaction times, judgement and decision-making.
- Inadequate lighting – Bad lighting can make it harder for workers to be able to see hazards. This may lead to slips, trips or falls.
- Lack of supervision – Less supervision at night can increase the risks of an accident occurring.
- Noise – If noise levels are high, apart from the risk of hearing loss, workers may not be able to effectively communicate with other workers which in turn could lead to an accident.
- Stress – Night shift work can cause stress at work. If not managed correctly, stress can lead to accidents in the workplace.
- Lack of training – Employees who have not been properly trained to work at night may be at a higher risk of being involved in an accident.
- Safety equipment – Lack of the correct safety equipment at night may lead to an accident.
If you have had an accident whilst working the night shift and believe it’s down to the negligence of your employer, please contact our advisors to find out if you’re eligible to claim compensation for any injuries you’ve sustained.
There are a variety of injuries that a night worker could sustain due to negligence, these include:
- Musculoskeletal injuries – including sprains and strains due to work involving heavy lifting or repetitive movements.
- Breaks or fractures.
- Cuts and bruises.
- Eye strain and headaches due to poor lighting, artificial lighting or continually looking at a computer screen.
- Night shift illness including stress and mental health problems – Disrupted sleep patterns lead to an overall lack of sleep which in turn can affect someone’s mental health.
Injuries suffered on night shifts can range from minor to severe, with some healing quickly and without complications. However, others may take longer and have a greater impact on the victim’s health and well-being, affecting their quality of life.
If you have sustained an injury whilst working the night shift that was not your fault, you can speak with one of our claims advisors in a free consultation to get expert advice.
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees. They are required to manage risks by first completing risk assessments to highlight any potential dangers, and then putting measures in place to protect employees from any found.
Therefore they could take the following steps to prevent accidents and injuries among their night workers:
- Making sure the workplace is well-lit by providing sufficient lighting.
- Clear away or signpost any hazards.
- Ensure all staff receive adequate training in safe working practices, the use of equipment and the steps to take in the event of an emergency.
- Provide appropriate PPE and make sure all employees wear it when necessary.
- Schedule regular breaks into the worker’s timetable to reduce the likelihood of fatigue.
- Carry out safety inspections on a regular basis and deal appropriately with any hazards that are found.
- Provide good resting facilities for staff to use before/after their shift and during break times.
- Provide mental support to the night staff.
- Promote good communication between all staff, supervisors and managers so that any problems or issues are heard and acted upon.
If an employer fails to complete risk assessments or put safety measures in place to protect their night staff from injuries, they may be found liable to pay compensation.
Compensation for an accident while working a night shift doesn’t typically cover just the type of injury sustained. Although the type and severity of the injury are taken into account, various other factors are also considered before the final settlement amount is determined. These factors may include:
- General damages –
- Type and severity of the injury.
- Any long-term health effects and their future prognosis.
- Loss of amenity and quality of life.
- Level of emotional trauma.
- Special damages –
- Medical expenses – Any medical costs incurred need to be considered. These could be medical treatment or prescription costs, costs of counselling or physiotherapy for example.
- Loss of income – Any income losses including regular overtime, bonuses or promotion opportunities will be considered. Any expected future losses as a result of the injury will also be taken into account.
- Travel expenses – Any travel costs you have incurred due to your injury will be considered.
- Care claim – Includes if you have needed to pay for someone to care for you or help around the home whilst you have been recovering.
An experienced personal injury solicitor will carefully consider all of the factors relevant to your night shit injury claim to ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation amount.
We cannot accurately determine the amount of compensation you may receive for an injury on a night shift without the details of what happened etc. However, you can use our compensation calculator to get an estimate of what you could possibly receive for the general damages.
The compensation calculator uses the latest figures from the Judicial College guidelines.
To make a successful night shift injury claim, you must be able to prove that the defendant was liable for your injury. To prove liability, you need to gather evidence that will support your claim. This can include:
- Medical evidence. Any medical reports regarding your injury.
- A copy of the accident report. It’s important to report accidents at work and document all the details in the accident book.
- Video footage. Ask for a copy of any camera or video recordings of the accident if available.
- Photos. Photos of the scene of your night shit accident and photographs of your injury at regular intervals will help show the physical effects of your injury.
- Witness Statements. It would be helpful to get written statements from anybody who saw your accident on the night shift to help show what happened and why.
It is worth noting that verbal admissions of guilt cannot be relied upon and hold very little weight when pursuing a claim. In our experience, it’s best to start gathering the evidence as soon as possible after an injury so that you have plenty of time to gather everything you might need.
Generally, the accident at work claim time limit is 3 years. The 3-year time limit typically begins from either the day you were injured on your night shift or the day your injury was diagnosed had it not been apparent straightaway.
We’d advise seeking advice as soon as possible to determine if you have a legitimate reason to make a night shift injury claim and if so, get it started straight away.
Please speak to one of our claims advisors on 0800 6524 881 to arrange a free consultation to discuss the nature of your claim. We can assess whether or not you have a viable case to claim compensation for your injury.
If one of our personal injury solicitors agrees that you have a strong case, they will offer to conduct your claim for you on a No Win No Fee basis. This means there will be no upfront costs, and that the legal fees are only payable if the claim is a success.
If you have any questions about making a night shift injury claim please use our live chat to speak directly with an advisor.