Accidents At Work
Claiming for Accidents at Work
Accidents at work are common and vary in severity and consequence. The most important thing to be aware of here is that workers are well protected by both normal tort (law) of negligence together with national and European legislation. In Britain acts such as the Factories Act 1961 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 put clear obligations on employers and breach of these will result in compensation being awarded in personal injury cases.
Recent European Directives have also strengthened these and nowadays the whole area of employment law can be a bit of a minefield. The good news for workers is that accidents at work are generally easier to claim compensation for than any other type of personal injury. This is because you do not always have to prove negligence; the simple failure to comply with health & safety laws may be enough.
The important thing you need to remember is that (as with any other type of personal injury) you need to support your case with evidence. This means that accidents at work must be reported immediately and must always be recorded in the accident log. If the injury is serious then get medical help immediately and make sure the doctor/hospital keeps a record of treatment. If you have any expenses then keep a record of them and if you have to take time off work then make a note of this too.
If you decide to make a claim then the first place to go is your trade union as they will usually be able to help you. They will often have lawyers available who specialise in accidents at work and could assist with costs. If you’re not a member of a Trade Union then you should go a Local Law Centre or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. If you’re only making a small claim they will help you organise your case for the Small Claims Court but if it is a large claim they will advise you to see a lawyer. The procedure is the same as for a normal personal injury case and could take some time.