What do I need to do after an accident at work?
By law, your employer must protect your health and keep you safe from harm in the workplace. If you are injured on the job, then it may be possible to claim compensation for your injuries. The chance of making a successful claim, however, can be improved by following the right steps.
This following sets out some of the things you can do to make it easier to pursue a personal injury claim.
Make an accident report
Employers are legally obliged to keep a record of all work-related accidents. The first step is to tell your employer about the accident and have it recorded in the accident book.
It is sensible to check that the entry is accurate and keep a copy of it since this may assist your claim later on.
It is possible to make a claim even without a record of an incident in the company's accident book, however this can make the process more difficult.
To make a successful personal injury claim, it is necessary to show that your employer did something, or failed to do something, that led to the accident. It is up to your solicitor, representing you, the Claimant, to prove that the employer was negligent in some way.
Some of the evidence your solicitor might consider includes:
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- The names and contact details of any witnesses
- The licence plates and condition of any forklifts or vehicles involved in the accident
- The serial numbers and condition of any tools, equipment or machinery.
Contact your union representative
If you are a member of a trade union, tell your representative about the accident.
The union may investigate the accident and should raise any safety concerns with the employer. This will help to make the workplace safer and may assist your personal injury claim.
Health and safety investigation
Employers have a duty to investigate workplace accidents, to identify what went wrong and to take steps to prevent a similar accident happening in the future.
In serious cases, the Health and Safety Executive may conduct their own investigation. If you feel that the accident should be reported to the HSE, then it is important to check that your employer has done so.
Unless you are medically unable, you should make yourself available to co-operate with any health and safety investigation. The outcome could be useful evidence in your personal injury claim.
See your doctor
You should see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident and keep a record of the visit.
This is important since your doctor may be asked to provide a medical evidence later on.
Even if your injury is relatively minor, it is unwise to delay in getting the appropriate treatment. Failure to seek prompt treatment could make your injury worse and could effectively reduce the amount of compensation you receive, if the court consider your injuries to have been worsened by your own delay.
If you need time off because of a work accident, then you should have the right to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or company sick pay according to your employment contract.
If SSP is not paid, then you should query the position with the employer as soon as possible.
You should also keep wage slips and details of any overtime payments you receive from the employer both before the accident and whilst you are off work. This will help substantiate a claim for loss of earnings and make sure that you are not out of pocket during your recovery period.
Contact a work accident solicitor
If you wish to claim compensation for your injuries, then you will need a specialist solicitor to represent you. Claims must be brought within three years of the date of the accident but the sooner you make a claim, the easier it will be for your solicitor to build a robust case.
By law, your employer must carry insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. Claims will be made against the employer but the insurance company will typically pay out the personal injury claim.