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September 25th 2021

Accidents at Work

‘I can’t sue my employer because…’ – the 5 myths preventing people claiming compensation they deserve for accidents at work

Jane Woodcock

Jane Woodcock

Head of Personal Injury

‘I can’t sue my employer because…’ – the 5 myths preventing people claiming compensation they deserve for accidents at work

Injuries suffered in an accident at work can be life-changing for both the individual and their loved ones, particularly the most serious cases which often occur in workplaces where heavy and powerful machinery is used.

Injuries suffered in an accident at work can be life-changing for both the individual and their loved ones, particularly the most serious cases which often occur in workplaces where heavy and powerful machinery is used.

Many people worry that seeking compensation from their employer after suffering an injury at work could lead to them being treated differently or perhaps even being sacked.

However, in reality, if the employer was clearly at fault for the injuries suffered, this is not an action they are likely to take.

Our team at Hudgell Solicitors has experience of handling a wide range of accidents at work – including falls and faulty equipment, unsafe work practices and failure to provide adequate training.

Here, Jane Woodcock, Head of Personal Injury at Hudgell Solicitors, looks at some of the myths around compensation claims related to accidents at work.

MYTH 1 – If I sue my employer they will sack me

If you have been employed continuously by the company for two or more years you would have the protection under employment law.

Thankfully, although not completely unknown, this scenario is rare. Sacking an employee who is making an injury claim is a very risky route for any employer to take, as they could soon find letters arriving from not only personal injury lawyers, but employment law specialists too.

In our experience, especially in cases of serious long-term injuries such as head injuries and amputations, employers can prove highly supportive and understanding.

We have represented many people who have sued their employers, received six and seven-figure damages settlements, and have returned to work for the business both during and after the conclusion of their accident at work claim legal case.

Some employers have gone out of their way to find new roles which are suitable for the employees if their work injury prevents them from continuing in their old job.

However, should you be dismissed for making or threatening to make an accident at work claim, or for some other ‘convenient’ reason, you may be able to challenge that dismissal through a tribunal.

On the flip side, if you haven’t been employed continuously for two years then any dismissal will be more difficult to challenge. However, even if there is no ability to pursue a standard unfair dismissal claim, there may be other claims such as bullying, harassment or discrimination (relating to the accident or injury) which could be pursued.

Importantly a dismissal would not impact on your case for compensation because this relates purely to the circumstances of the accident at work in which you were involved and whether your employer’s negligence was the cause of you being injured at work.

MYTH 2- I shouldn’t sue my employer because it will hurt them financially

Although a legal claim may impact on their insurance premiums slightly, any damages settlement you are awarded would not have to be paid to you by your employers. Every business is legally obliged to have employer’s liability insurance and the policy must be issued by a recognised provider

Therefore, any legal claim you make will be against your employer’s insurers. Insurance is in place to ensure that people are able to get the compensation and support they deserve and need when they are injured at work when that workplace accident was the fault of their employer.

MYTH 3 – I can’t make an accident at work claim because I no longer work for the company

Many people wrongly believe that they still have to be working for the employer to be able to make an accident at work claim against them, but this is not the case.

Indeed, many claims are initiated once an employee has left a business and no longer feels that sense of loyalty, especially if they were badly injured and feel their former employer failed to give them the support they deserved.

There is a three-year time limit from the date of the workplace accident for a claimant to initiate court proceedings.

However, our very firm advice would always be that a claim is initiated sooner rather than later as delay in doing so can potentially have a detrimental effect in terms of evidence needed to substantiate a work injury claim and seriously affect the prospects of success on a claim.

MYTH 4 – I will have to face my company in court

Whilst more accident at work compensation cases do go all the way to court than other personal injury claims, in our experience the vast majority are settled out of court following negotiations between our lawyers and representatives of the defendant firm.

In cases where employers accept they have been at fault for the injuries caused, the majority are keen to come to an agreement on damages without the need to go to a court where the award would then be set by a judge.

Our team of expert accident at work lawyers has an excellent record of securing six and seven-figure damages settlements in joint settlement meetings with defendants and without the need for the matter to be put before a court.

MYTH 5 – I’ve been injured at work so I can make a claim for compensation

No, not necessarily. Compensation is not claimable for every workplace accident, particularly where an employee has deliberately chosen to break from set policies and procedures, or ignore clear training and guidance in place to ensure safety.

A successful claim is entirely dependent upon a claimant being able to prove that their injury resulted from the negligence or breach of statutory duty of their employer. This is the only basis on which legal liability can be established. So, the fact that an injury may have been severe or that considerable earnings may have been lost do not of themselves mean that there is a claim. There will only be a claim if legal liability for the workplace accident can be established.

If the employers’ insurers consider the cause of the accident at work was not due to negligence or breach of statutory duty they will issue a denial of liability, in response to which you would need strong evidence of their negligent acts or omissions in order to prove your case.

If you have been injured at work due to the negligence of your employer, contact our expert team as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances. We can help you by providing guidance, support and legal representation to achieve the accident at work compensation you deserve.

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