ACCIDENT AT WORK CLAIMS
Whether you work in an office, warehouse or on a building site, your employer is under an obligation to make sure, as far as reasonably practicable, that you are safe in your workplace. A responsible employer should, and generally will, have Employers Liability Insurance in place.
Clients often worry that if they bring a claim against their employer, their employer will suffer financially. Assuming that your employer has insurance in place, you will be able to claim against that insurance. We often find it to be the case that if a client has been injured at work, the employer is actually relieved that an employee is compensated because they have been hurt within the workplace and can and should be compensated for that. It is a moral as well as a legal responsibility.
Is my employer responsible is I am involved in an accident at work?
It really depends on how the accident happened. Accidents at work are not cases of strict liability. By this, we mean that just because an accident has taken place at work, it does not necessarily follow that the employer is at fault. We have to be able to show that the employer has been negligent in some way. If an employer can demonstrate that they have a rigorous health and safety policy in force and that was put into practice (rather than just being a paper exercise on the employer’s part) it may be the case that the Court decides that the employer has done all they could to have avoided an accident and that the employer is not necessarily liable for what has happened. We have to be honest with you about the likelihood of your case succeeding. Once we have all of the relevant information that the employer is obliged to disclose to us, we will be able to advise you whether we think that you have a claim. If we think that you don’t, we will tell you. We would not want to give you unrealistic expectations. Equally, if we think that you have a strong case against your employer, we will fight on your behalf to make sure that you are fully compensated.
How do I make a claim?
We will take all of the relevant details from you and then contact your employer to ask them for details of their employer’s liability insurance. If the likely value of the claim is below £25,000, we then lodge notification of the claim on an online portal. Your employer’s insurers then have 3 months to make investigations and respond. If the insurers accept liability, we will then make arrangements for you to be medically examined and a copy of the medical report will be submitted to the insurers on the same online portal. At the same time as sending the medical report, we advise the insurers of how much compensation we think that you should be awarded. If the insurers respond with a fair offer, we will most likely advise you to accept. If the offer is unreasonable, we will ask the insurers to make an interim payment (for a figure which if their “best offer”) and then issue Court proceedings to ask the Court to assess the level of damages that should be awarded. If we do have to issue proceedings, it is just a paper exercise and you do not need to attend at Court.
What if liability is disputed?
If the insurer disputes that your employer is liable for the accident, then as long as we are satisfied that you have a strong case, we will issue Court proceedings against your employer. Once liability has been denied, the case drops out of the online portal system.
Before proceedings are issued, we have to be sure that you have the approval of your legal expense insurer. We do this to make sure that you have protection from any potential costs orders that might be made.