Almost any contract of employment that you sign with an employer will state that they have a duty to provide you with a safe, hazard-free working environment. It’s simply their duty as an employer to do so.
Employers have a responsibility to make sure that fumes and noise are kept under control, that all machinery is maintained and tested, that there are adequate first aid supplies to hand, and so on. If conditions like these have not been adhered to, and you have been injured as a result, you have every right to make an accident at work claim.
Reporting the accident
The first step would be to notify your employers that you have been injured at work. Some businesses have an ‘accident book’ where employees record any accidents that occur. If your workplace has no such book, record the details privately.
If it turns out that you’re going to make an injury claim, have some photographs taken of the place where you were injured and try and record all the circumstances that led to you being injured. A disposable camera would do – anything that can get a clear picture.
Next, you’ll want to visit a doctor, even if your injury is not a serious one. This is to obtain a medical record of your injury. If misdiagnosis or malpractice occurs, see a clinical negligence solicitor.
You’re going to need this when approaching your employer, or when you’re working with your solicitor.
One particularly important step is to make sure that the details of the accident report are 100 per cent true. If you’ve signed a report of the accident that has some factual inaccuracies, you’ll probably lose out on the claim, and will have to pay legal fees without getting compensated for your injury.
Also, obtaining witness statements is particularly important. If there were no witnesses present when the accident occurred, don’t worry; it’s still possible to get your colleagues to be witnesses of the working environment in general, and the hazards associated with it.
Another piece of advice is to act fast – don’t let this slip away unnoticed. You may have a hard time trying to launch legal action if you’ve left it for a while.
In most cases, legal notification has to be given within three years of the accident occurring. However, there may be differences and exceptions to this rule.
Should you feel bad about pursuing a claim?
Absolutely not. As stated above, it is your employer’s duty to make sure that you have a safe working environment. Also, most businesses are under legal obligation to have public liability insurance.
This means that you won’t be putting them in a difficult position. If you’re pursuing an injury claim, the insurance they have will pay out damages.