accident at work claim

Accident At Work Claim: How To Show An Employer Is Legally Responsible For Your Injuries

In this article we discuss how to show legal fault so you can succeed with your accident at work claim; showing employer negligence; the health and safety laws that protect you from injury at work; extra protection for dangerous tasks; personal protective equipment; your work contract terms for employees and the self-employed; occupiers liability for your injury from an employer and the land owner; employee carelessness contributing to your accident with access to specialist solicitor free online help.

Does the law protect workers safety in the UK?

You will be pleased to know that as a matter of public policy the health and safety of workers is considered of great importance by the UK government, which was reinforced by European law and following Brexit continues to be of the utmost importance.

Be aware – should you suffer injury in an accident at work, your chances of winning a compensation claim are normally quite good.

Ways to show employer fault for your accident at work claim?

It is useful to appreciate the factors your solicitor should take into account to determine if you have a valid accident at work claim.

However – using the law to show your employer’s legal responsibility is quite involved and should be left to your work injury solicitor.

There are a number of different ways your employer can be considered legally responsible for an accident at work, which include:

Safety precautions your employer must take

Your employer must show that all precautions were taken to ensure your safety in doing the job in which you were injured.

Safe work environment, training and safety equipment

Amongst other things, you should be provided with: a safe work environment, proper training and correct safety equipment.

Employer negligence and breach of statutory duty

If your employer failed to do this he could be seen to be “negligent” and/or in breach of statutory duty.

In other words – your employer could be considered legally responsible for your workplace injuries.

Health and Safety Laws

There are a several laws which are in place that reinforce the duty on employers to protect the health and safety of workers in all workplaces.

General and specific safety laws

The health and safety laws are numerous – some general laws (risk assessing work tasks to ensure safety) and some more specific laws depending largely on the job you are required to do at work.

For example – there are laws that ensure employee safety when using work equipment.

Record and investigate your accident

Should you suffer injury at work – your employer must properly record your workplace accident, investigate the circumstances of your accident.

Report to the HSE and risk assess

For more serious injuries – your employer report to the Health & Safety Executive and prove a further risk assessment to eliminate any new dangers identified and so prevent further similar accidents.

Records your employer should keep

See our workplace accident records article – for a detailed description of the records  your employer should keep and steps that should be taken following a workplace injury.

Be aware – these records are very important pieces of evidence that can be accessed by your solicitor as part of your accident at work claim.

Compliance with the Health and Safety rules

In short, unless your employer can show that all the health and safety rules were complied with – you will have a good chance to succeed in your work injury claim.

Tasks that could put your health at risk

Added protection for certain work tasks

Depending on the type of task you are being asked to perform in the workplace – there are often additional laws in place to provide you with added protection.

Manual handling

For example – if you are required to move or hold any object at work using your hands or using bodily force (in other words using your physical strength in some way) then you are doing what is known as “manual handling”.

Many accidents at work claims are caused through manual handling.

A law is in place known as the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 setting out your employer’s obligations where manual handling takes place. It is accompanied by a useful guide, including the amount of weight an employee can safely handle in different positions.

manual handling work injury claim
Manual Handling Work Injury Claim

Personal protective safety equipment

Extra duties are imposed on your employer that include the need to provide PPE (personal protection equipment).

Handling dangerous chemicals

For example – imagine you had to handle dangerous chemicals in the workplace. PPE might include protective breathing equipment, chemical resistant gloves, goggles, etc. All designed to protect you from various different injuries from hazardous chemicals.

Failure to provide PPE causing injury

If you are not provided with the requisite PPE and as result suffer injury – you will likely succeed with your accident at work claim.

The employment contract

The employment contract sets out your relationship with your employer.

Employed or self-employed,

The employment contract describes: if you are considered an employee or self-employed individual.

Contractual rights and employer duties

It also sets out what your contractual rights are and the duties of your employer.

Contractual claim for breach of contract

Note, if you employer breaks the terms of your employment contract – there could be a contractual claim for your injury.

Greater protection for employees

As a general rule – in the event of an accident an employee is owed greater protection by an employer than the self-employed.

Self-employed can be considered as employees

Watch out – even though your contract may state that you are self-employed (a contractor), this is not final, as there are other tests that may determine you are an employee for the purpose of your accident at work claim.

Occupier’s liability

Employer as occupier

Your employer will invariably be an occupier of your workplace as can other businesses.

Premises owner as occupier

Other businesses or individuals might include the owner of a warehouse where you work that is let to your employer.

Detailed explanation of who is the occupier

See our detailed occupier’s liability guide for a further explanation of who is the occupier.

Example of occupier’s liability for accident at work claims

For example, if water is spilled on the workplace floor causing you to slip and injure yourself – it is likely your employer will be legally responsible for leaving the floor in a dangerous state. However, if a window in a warehouse collapses and that warehouse is rented by your employer from a landlord – you could have a claim against your employer or the landlord as the occupier.

Working outside of the normal workplace

Sometimes an accident occurs when you are working outside of your normal workplace. Your employer can still be found legally responsible in these situations.

Speak to a solicitor to know if you can claim

We recommend – you seek help from a work injury solicitor to know whether you have an accident at work claim should you have an injury outside of the normal workplace.

Your own carelessness

Sometimes an employer has provided training and warned you of the risks of injury in the workplace, but despite this your own carelessness has lead to an injury occurring.

Carelessness causing or contributing to injury

See our work injury employee carelessness article to see why you can still make an accident at work claim when your own carelessness has lead or contributed to your workplace injury.

Accident At Work Claim Summary

In this article we have provided you with an overview of the laws used to win your accident at work compensation claim and explained why it is important that you have a basic understanding of them.

See our specialist solicitor free online & telephone help options – which include asking an online question, arranging a specialist solicitor callback or having immediate assistance.

You can discuss your work accident and understand the process of claiming compensation before you decide whether you wish to go ahead with your accident at work claim.