Accidents at Work Compensation
If you have had an accident at work you could be entitled to claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (known as general damages) and your financial losses (known as special damages) arising as a result of the accident. We have detailed below some of the legislation that may be relevant to accidents at work, although these are not exhaustive:
Personal Protective Equipment
If you have been injured in an accident at work that could have been avoided if your Employer provided you with Personal Protective Equipment eg gloves, eye protection or special clothing then your employer may be liable.
The relevant regulations are the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.Regulation 4 states: Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.
The accompanying guidance states: Employers should, therefore, provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and training in its usage to their employees wherever there is a risk to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled by other means.In order to provide PPE for their employees, employers must do more than simply have the equipment on the premises.
The employees must have the equipment readily available, or at the very least have clear instructions on where they can obtain it.
Under the Manual Handling Operations 1992 there is no specific requirements as to weight limits. Instead an ergonomic assessment based on a range of relevant factors is used to determine the risk of injury. If you have been injured as a result of a lifting accident at work, your employers may be liable if they have failed to carry out the appropriate risk assessment.When a more detailed assessment is necessary it should follow the broad structure set out in Schedule 1 to the Regulations.
The Schedule lists a number of questions in five categories:
- the task;
- the load;
- the working environment;
- individual capability (this category is discussed in more detail under regulation 4(3) and its guidance); and
- other factors, for example use of protective clothing.
Each of these categories may influence the others and none of them can be considered on their own.
The control measures under the Regulations are:-
- To avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable, for example by redesigning the task to avoid moving the load or by automating or mechanising the process.
- Make a suitable and sufficient assessment of any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
- Reduce the risk of injury from those operations so far as is reasonably practicable. Where possible, you should provide mechanical assistance, for example a sack trolley or hoist. Where this is not reasonably practicable, look at ways of changing the task, the load and working environment.
If you have sustained an injury from a dangerous substance at work and your employer has failed to comply with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) which require employers to control the risks to safety from fire and explosions, then your employers may be liable for your accident.
Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire and explosion. DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from risks to their safety from fires, explosions and similar events in the workplace, this includes members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.
What are dangerous substances?
Dangerous substances are any substances used or present at work that could, if not properly controlled, cause harm to people as a result of a fire or explosion. They can be found in nearly all workplaces and include such things as solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), dusts from machining and sanding operations and dusts from foodstuffs.
- find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the fire and explosion risks are;
- put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them;
- put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances;
- prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances;
- make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances;
- identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas.
If you have had an accident on a construction site there can often be more than one organisation responsible. Where there are a number of different companies on the site, your employer, other Companies and their employees together with the Main Contractor owe you a duty of care. If one or more parties have failed in their duty and you have sustained an injury, you will be able to proceed with a personal injury claim against the relevant party/parties.
Working at Height
If you have fallen from a height and sustained an injury during the course of your employment, your employer may be liable if they have failed to comply with The Work at Height Regulations 2005 which came into force on 6 April 2005. The Regulations apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury.
They place duties on employers, the self-employed, and any person that controls the work of others (for example facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height).There is a simple hierarchy for managing and selecting equipment for work at height.
Duty holders must:
- avoid work at height where they can;
- use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height; and
- where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.
The Regulations include schedules giving requirements for existing places of work and means of access for work at height, collective fall prevention (e.g. guardrails and working platforms), collective fall arrest (e.g. nets, airbags etc), personal fall protection (e.g. work restraints, fall arrest and rope access) and ladders.
Your employer is vicariously liable for acts or omissions of all employees. If you have sustained an injury as a result of the acts or omissions on another employee your employers are strictly liable.
If we are satisfied your claim possesses reasonable prospects of success, we will proceed with your claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement.
Financial losses can include the following:
- Cost of private medical treatment including physiotherapy and osteopath fees;
- Personal items eg clothes and jewellery;
- Gratuitous care (provided by your friends and family);
- Travelling expenses ie petrol and taxi fares;
- Past and future loss of earnings;
- Claim for your disadvantage on the open labour market if you are likely to be disadvantaged when applying for an alternative job.
We can see you at home, in hospital or at our local office on 100 New Walk, Leicester, LE1 7EA.
We will arrange for you to be examined by one of our suitably qualified medical experts. If you have sustained soft tissue injuries then an independent General Practitioner’s report may be sufficient. If you have sustained a fracture then we would arrange for you to be examined by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.
If you have experienced psychological symptoms as a result of the accident such as flash backs, sleeplessness and panic attacks, then we may also recommend that a report be obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist.Any treatment the medical experts recommend can proceed on a private basis and will be funded by the other party’s insurers, provided they are satisfied the treatment is necessary.
Once you have made a full recovery we will proceed to settle your claim. If liability still remains in issue, we will consider the prospects of the claim succeeding. If we are satisfied that the prospects of your claim are reasonable we will recommend that Court proceedings are issued. Very rarely do claims proceed to trial as a settlement is usually agreed once Court proceedings are issued before the matter reaches trial.
Providing we are satisfied that your claim possesses reasonable prospects of success, we will proceed with your claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win no fee).
We will recover your compensation and our costs from the other party’s insurers.
LEGAL EXPENSE INSURANCE
You do not have any liability to pay the other party’s costs if you lose until Court Proceedings are issued. You have 3 years from the date of the accident to settle your claim before Court Proceedings have to be issued (minors have until their 21st birthday) . Most claims will resolve within this period, however, if it is necessary to issue Court Proceedings due to this period expiring or due to the fact the insurers are disputing liability we will ensure you have legal expense insurance to cover your opponents’ costs.
You may have the benefit of this cover on an existing insurance policy, however, if not we can arrange this on your behalf at no cost to yourself. This means if you proceeded to Trial and lost your case you would not have any costs to pay.