Worker Compensation Insurance: Specialist legal guide to the insurance your employer must have in place to meet your compensation claim
Discover all about worker compensation insurance; how it differs from accident sickness insurance; how it pays your compensation following an accident at work and the benefits to the safety in your workplace of involving your employer’s insurer in your claim.
What is worker compensation insurance?
An injury at work is one of the most common types of accident in the UK. Although the majority of injuries are minor – resulting in a quick recovery period and a small compensation claim – some injuries are very serious causing permanent disability and a large amount of lost income.
If your employer had to meet the expense of a large claim out of his own pocket – his business would quickly go bankrupt or he simply would not be able to pay.
To ensure your right as an employee to receive the compensation you are entitled to – your employer is required by UK law to have in place an insurance policy which will pay your compensation claim if you are injured in the workplace – this policy is known as “worker compensation insurance”.
What is accident sickness insurance?
Accident sickness insurance is also known as accident sickness unemployment insurance. It is a private policy you can take out as an employee which will make certain payments on your behalf if you are absent from work or you are made unemployed as a result of accident or sickness.
This is not the same as worker compensation insurance which is taken out by your employer and actually pays for your compensation claim.
If you have an accident sickness insurance policy let your solicitor know as it could affect the amount of lost income you can claim as part of your compensation.
Who do you claim against – your employer or his insurance company?
You must always claim against your employer. Once you have made a claim against him he will pass the claim onto his insurance company to deal with on his behalf.
The insurance company will investigate your accident and pay your compensation only if it is satisfied that your employer was responsible for your injuries. In other words – the worker compensation insurance company will “indemnify” your employer for any proven compensation claims.
Worker compensation insurers will not take your claim seriously unless a specialist solicitor is involved and, even then, it is often necessary for your solicitor to start your claim in court for you to get the correct amount of compensation.
Do you still have a claim if your employer has gone bankrupt before your compensation claim is finished?
“Yes” – as long as your employer was insured at the time of your accident – his insurance policy will still meet his liability even if he is bankrupt or no longer in business.
What are the advantages to the safety in your workplace by making a compensation claim?
You will be pleased to know that the advantages are quite significant.
As worker compensation insurance companies do not like to pay out large sums of money too often – pressure will be exerted on your employer to remove the dangers that caused your accident. A simple warning that your employer will not be insured for any similar accidents is normally sufficient for him to change his ways.
Further more – your employer will have to report the accident to the Health and Safety Executive who will ensure that any dangers are removed.
See our workplace accident records article – to find out the records your employer should keep including a RIDDOR report to the HSE.
The advantage of you making an accident at work claim is therefore simple – your employer will remove the danger from the workplace that caused your accident and so remove the risk to any other employee from being injured as you were.
You are doing both your employer and your workmates a service by making a claim – your employer will be forced to remove the danger that caused your accident and so eliminate the risk of a workmate being injured in the same way. Remember your injury might be small, but a workmate’s injury could be much worse.
Worker Compensation Insurance Summary & Next Steps
You now know all about worker compensation insurance; how it is different to accident sickness insurance; how it can be used to pay your compensation claim and force your employer to remedy any danger in the workplace.
See our accident at work article – to find out about the types of compensation you can claim from your employer’s worker compensation insurance for a workplace injury.
Remember – you can access our specialist solicitor free online help at any time.