Work Accident Claim: A guide to making a compensation claim for personal injury following an accident in the workplace
Find out what are work accident claim is; the types of compensation you claim can include; how your solicitor calculates the amount of compensation you can claim; showing your employer is responsible for your claim; insurance your employer must have in place to pay you compensation: how to have your online questions answered by an expert solicitor with access to our work accident claims process guide (setting out step by step how to claim compensation) and our online accident at work Q&A, FAQ and Blog.
What is a work accident claim for compensation?
If you suffer personal injury as a result in a work accident – you may find that you are entitled to claim compensation from your employer (often the self-employed and contractors can claim).
The compensation you can claim is made up of four key elements:
1. Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
The physical or psychological injuries you suffer not only cause pain and suffering, but also lower your ability to enjoy your hobbies and life in general. These losses are known as general damages – for which you are entitled to claim work accident compensation.
2. Financial loss & Expense
As a result of your injury you are likely to have an actual monetary loss and additional financial expenses – such as lost income, medical expenses, travel expenses to the hospital or your GP, etc. You are entitled to claim compensation for these losses.
You are entitled to claim interest on the above two types of loss. The interest rate varies on the type of loss you have suffered.
4. Legal expenses
Your legal expenses are not really classed as compensation, but in many countries you can also claim all or the majority of your legal costs in addition to your compensation. In other words – you can claim the costs of using a solicitor to help you pursue your claim for compensation. In England and Wales, for example, you can claim the majority of your legal costs so long as your personal injury pain and suffering (general damages) is worth over £1,000 (over the small claims limit).
Please be aware – for the certain types of road traffic accident the small claims limit was increased to £5,000 from 31 May 2021.
How is the amount of compensation you can claim calculated?
As explained – your work accident claim is primarily for two types of compensation. General damages (for pain and suffering) and special damages (for financial loss and expense as a direct result of your accident).
Your solicitor calculates your general damages based upon an independent medical expert report setting out your injuries, likely recovery period and any ongoing disability. Your injury as set out in the medical report is compared to similar injuries decided by the courts in the past and judicial guidance – this compensation figure is then adjusted for inflation and other legal calculation changes to determine a range of values.
We have set out the work injury compensation payout amounts by body type for your convenience.
Special damages is largely a matter of maths – the sum of all your your financial losses (both now and in the future) that you can prove supported by evidence and preferably receipts. Such losses can include past and future lost income, medical expenses, care and assistance.
We discuss these losses in more details in our how your solicitor calculates special damages article.
How do you know if your employer is responsible for your work accident claim?
You should leave proving employer fault for your work accident claim to a specialist solicitor. Your solicitor will rely on showing negligence and breach of specific laws that protect your health and safety for the specific type of task that you were doing when your injury occurred.
You might be surprised to learn that your solicitor can access records your employer must keep by law concerning your accident including:
1. Accident book entries
Describing not only your work accident, but other similar accidents at work to other employees.
Investigations made by your employer and meetings concerning how your accident happened.
3. Health and Safety Executive reports
If you are absent from work for over three days as a result of work accidents or have a serious injury – your employer must report your accident circumstances to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE will often investigate your accident circumstances and documents will be produced as to their findings.
There are many more documents your lawyer has the right to see and these can all be used to show your employer was responsible for accident.
Will your employer be insured for your personal injury at work claim?
“Yes” – your employer is required by law to have in place suitable employers’ liability insurance, which will pay your compensation in the event of an accident.
How long do you have to make a work accident compensation claim?
You have three years from the date of your accident to make a claim for compensation.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If it is more than three years from your accident it might not be too late to make a claim – but you must act quickly and seek expert legal advice.
Further accident at work articles, frequently asked questions & blog
See our accident at work index to see all of our articles setting out each aspect of the work accidents claim process in detail.
Specialist solicitor free legal help to accident victims
You might think you have a claim for compensation following an accident at work or just wish to discuss you accident with a specialist solicitor.
See our specialist solicitor free telephone / online help to select from our legal help options – including asking a legal question or speaking direct to a solicitor.