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December 2nd 2020

Accidents at Work

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

Injuries suffered 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 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, as it will only look worse for them in the long run.

Our team at Hudgell Solicitors has experience of handling a wide range of injury cases, from falls and faulty equipment to the failure to provide adequate training and ensure staff follow set procedures to ensure their safety.

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’ll sack me

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

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 at the business during, and after the conclusion, of their legal case.

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

However, should you be dismissed for making or threatening to make a 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 not an ordinary unfair dismissal claim, there may be other claims such as bullying, harassment or discrimination (relating to the accident or injury).

The dismissal would not impact on your case for compensation for your injuries though, which would continue to be pursued.

Thankfully, although not completely unknown, this scenario is rare.

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 and the injury was the fault of their employer.

MYTH 3 – I can’t claim for my injury 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 a claim against them, but this is not the case.

Indeed, many claims are launched when 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.

In accident at work injury compensation claims employees have three years from the date of the accident, or from the date on which they realised the injury was associated with the workplace accident, to initiate court proceedings.

However our 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 claim.

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

Whilst more workplace accident compensation cases do go all the way to court than other personal injury claims, in our experience the 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 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

This one is the caveat.

Compensation doesn’t come with every injury at work, especially if you have deliberately chosen to break from set policies and procedures, or ignore clear training and guidance in place to ensure your safety.

A successful work accident claim is entirely dependent upon being able to prove that your accident at work injury negligence or some breach of statutory duty by of your employers.

If they believe it was entirely your fault expect a strong denial of liability, in response to which you would need very 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 compensation you deserve.

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