Suffering an injury in a workplace accident can be distressing, more so if the accident was caused due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence. If you are a victim of a no-fault accident in the workplace, your two topmost priorities should be to get your injuries treated as soon as possible and to take steps to protect your legal right to claim compensation.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident in the workplace, the pain and shock can make it difficult to think clearly. More often than not, workers make mistakes that can make it difficult to win any compensation for their injuries. To prevent this from happening and to help protect your legal rights, we’ve put together a detailed account of what to do if an accident occurs in the workplace.
Assess Your Injuries And Get Them Treated At The Earliest
If you are seriously injured in the workplace accident, make sure a colleague calls for an ambulance immediately. Nothing else is as important as getting emergency medical care for serious injuries.
If you think your injuries do not warrant calling an ambulance, you should get them treated by your workplace first-aider.
Regardless of how minor your injuries appear and whether or not you received first-aid after the accident, you must get a full assessment by a qualified medical professional at the earliest. It is not always possible to gauge the full extent of your injuries without proper diagnosis. An internal injury that goes unnoticed can cause serious complications and can even be fatal if it is not treated promptly.
Having your injuries assessed and treated by a medical professional also establishes the fact that you were injured. Your doctor’s notes and the diagnostic tests that are performed will all serve as proof of the type of injuries you sustained and the treatment you are undergoing. Make sure to tell the medical staff to document your injuries in detail. This will add weight to your accident at work compensation claim.
Get Photographic And Video Evidence Of The Scene Of The Accident
Photographs and video recordings can provide irrefutable proof about the cause of the workplace accident. It makes it more difficult for an employer to deny that the accident was caused due to their negligence. It also prevents your employer from trying to “fix”” the accident scene, which can hamper your claim.
When taking photographs or video, make sure that the cause of the accident is clearly evident, if possible. Get additional photographs of the surrounding area and don’t forget to get photographs of your injuries too.
Report The Accident To Your Manager
Every company has its own accident at work procedure. Follow the procedure and inform the manager/supervisor about the accident. This is very important. In most companies, this is a mandatory requirement. You could be violating the company’s policy if you fail to report the accident. An employer could use this violation of policies against you, potentially weakening a compensation claim.
At this point, you are simply informing the manager that the accident occurred in the workplace and you were injured as a result. Do not discuss who is to blame for the accident or hint about filing a claim against the company. If you do this, your manager might get defensive and you could find yourself in a heated discussion unnecessarily. Leave the arguments to an experienced personal injury solicitor who is better qualified to apportion liability for workplace accidents.
Record The Accident In The Workplace Accident Book
It is mandatory for every company to have an accident book in the workplace. This may be kept in the HR office or the supervisor’s or manager’s office. Some companies may try and deter you from creating a written record as this may affect their ‘no accident’ record. Don’t let this stop you. Not having a formal written record about the accident can hinder your claim.
If your manager refuses to let you create an incident report in the accident book, you can still create a record by sending your employer an email describing your accident and also your difficulty in reporting it in the accident book.
Keep A Detailed Record Of Your Expenses And Losses
It’s shocking how quickly expenses can add up after an accident occurs in the workplace, starting with medical costs such as prescriptions for medicine. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, the medical bills can keep adding up if you need specialised ongoing treatment or physiotherapy. The cost of travelling to and from your treatments can add up too. Then there’s the cost of assistive devices, mobility aids, home care, child care, and in severer cases structural changes to your home or vehicle.
If you are forced to stay away from work because of your injuries, the loss of income can compound your losses in more ways than one. In addition to the lost wages, you may also lose out on the opportunity to earn a promotion or a bonus.
All of these expenses occur over a period of time, which is why it is important to start recording your expenses and losses from day one. File all bills, receipts and recent pay slips in one place. The main purpose of compensation is to try and get you back to a place you would have been in financially if the accident at work had not happened. For this, you need detailed records.
You can also claim for loss of enjoyment if you had to cancel a planned holiday or any other activity you had signed up for.
Keep A Detailed Written Record All Your Symptoms
Very often, if you sustain multiple injuries in an accident at work, medical staff only focus on treating the most serious of these. With time however, what seems like a minor injury immediately after the accident may progress into a long-term debilitating condition. If this is progression is diagnosed only much later, you are more likely to have forgotten the details. Keeping a detailed written record of your symptoms along with the dates will make it easier to emphasise the full impact of your accident.
Get In Touch With A Personal Injury Solicitor
Getting in touch with a personal injury solicitor is an important thing to do if an accident occurs in the workplace due to negligence. Our personal injuries solicitors have vast experience helping workers get compensation for their workplace injuries. They will use this experience and their knowledge of the law to make sure that you receive the maximum compensation due to you under the various laws established to protect workers.
A personal injury solicitor can talk with you, go through all the documentation, and assess the merits of your claim without charging you a consultation fee. If you have a strong case, they will advise you to go ahead with your claim, and will even offer to fund your claim on a No Win No Fee basis if you cannot afford the legal fees.