It was recently revealed that Humberside Police has paid out more than £55,000 to officers and staff in compensation settlements since May last year – and it has brought the perhaps expected reaction of disbelief and dismay.
“Pity they don’t put as much work into catching criminals as they do in claiming for cash!!” says one of the readers who has left a comment.
“Accidents happen and this needs stopping,” says another, adding: “I am a tradesman and cut my knee with a knife and needed 9 stiches. I took myself to hospital, got stitched up and back to work. No compensation required, my fault my problem.”
This approach is very noble, and just the kind of attitude and commitment every employer would like from a member of staff.
As specialists in handling cases involving workplace injuries and accidents however, we find this loyalty is not always reciprocated when it comes to employers looking after their workers following accidents and injuries.
There is a perception that public sector workers have far less to fear in pursuing their employers for compensation, because many private sector workers have real concerns about the effect making a claim may have on their continued employment.
Generally speaking, private sector workers have only a very limited entitlement to sick pay, and frequently their entitlement is to receive nothing more than statutory sick pay.
That is the case whether or not the reason for absence is an accident in the workplace and whether or not that accident was the employer’s fault.
Comparing this to the sick pay provisions generally incorporated in public sector contracts demonstrates a rather un-level playing field.
The truth is that many accident victims can be left significantly out of pocket for a period of time, reliant on their family’s support, needing treatment for their injuries, incurring extra expenditure and worrying about the impact their injuries will have on their future.
So, should this happen to you, would you be happy to hear someone say “an accident’s an accident…get on with it”?
Yes, the outline summary of some of the police injuries outlined in this report may seem trivial, but the question is, could and should they have been avoided, and were systems, procedures and protocols followed to avoid the accidents happening?
All of these factors would come into consideration when considering whether the employer had legal responsibility for the accident, and it is surely right that they should be, as it can only help lessons be learned, and hopefully avoid such accidents being repeated in the future.
Quite simply, when you go to work, you have the right to expect your employer – whoever they are – to have done all in their power to keep you safe and injury and illness free.
At Neil Hudgell Solicitors, as personal injury specialists we have a reputation for successfully dealing with work injury claims, and we continue to see this as an important part of our work.
Only by pursuing claims on behalf of injured parties will policies and procedures become tightened and employers take their responsibilities more seriously, hopefully leading to a reduction in case numbers, less cost to the economy, and the NHS.