How much compensation can you claim for a digger accident?

Employees and self-employed workers in industries such as construction, mining and quarrying, forestry and logging, and civil engineering often work in close proximity to digging equipment.

These workers are at risk of being struck by bulldozers, forklift trucks, diggers and other heaving lifting equipment, as well as from the rubble, earth and other construction materials the machines are handling.

Although there are inherent risks within these industries, employers have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of their employees and the public, by minimising these risks.

How may risks be reduced?

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain, stipulates that employers must provide employees and visitors with a safe workplace environment.

In the first place this means carrying out risk assessments and ensuring that safety policies - to address and reduce the risks - are written, communicated and implemented.

With regard to diggers and earth moving machinery, safety measures may include:

  • Training digger operatives how to use the machinery safely, including instructing on maximum loading limits for digger buckets
  • Making sure equipment is properly maintained and inspected, and any faults repaired
  • Prohibiting untrained employees from operating the equipment
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, hi-vis vests and safety gloves

If an accident occurs as a result of an employer’s failure carry out the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of his employees and the public, his negligence means he may be found liable for any injuries sustained.

What injuries can you claim for following a digger accident?

Injuries sustained from accidents involving diggers may include:

How much compensation might I be awarded?

All compensation awards are made in two parts - general damages and special damages - and the amount of compensation will depend on the extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your life.

For example, if you had a serious injury such as a crushing injury to your arm, the general damages payment would be to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

In addition the special damages element would recompense the financial losses you have already sustained through your injury, as well as assessing any likely future financial losses.

For instance if you were unable to work because of a serious arm injury, a medical report would help the court to assess whether you would recover sufficiently to return to your employment, and how long this may take. A payment would be made to cover this loss of earnings.

If the injuries to your arm meant that you could return to work but only on a part-time basis, compensation may be paid to reflect this lower earning capacity.

Who pays the compensation?

By law, all organisations are required to have Employers’ Liability Insurance in place, so providing the employer is found to be liable for the accident that caused your injuries, any claim for compensation would be paid by his insurer.