Many people believe that a ‘compensation culture’ exists in the UK, with thousands of unnecessary compensation claims being made by every year, often by employees taking advantage of overprotective health and safety legislation to claim against their employer.
This isn’t actually the case – research has shown that there are fewer compensation claims made in the UK than in any other developed country except Denmark. What’s more, it’s important that employee’s who are injured because their employer has been negligent or failed to adhere to health and safety regulations set by the government, should be able to make a work accident claim. In this instance, work accident claims can not only provide the injured employee with financial support following an accident, especially where they have lost income due to time off, but can also draw the employer’s attention to the cause of the accident. In turn, this can lead to improvements in the working environment for everyone.
It is not always clear when work accident claims can be made, as there may be confusion about who’s responsible for health and safety in the workplace and what an employer must do to prevent accidents taking place in the first place. The truth is, health and safety in the workplace is the responsibility of both the employer and employees.
The employer’s responsibilities
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out the main things that an employer must do to create a safe and healthy working environment. The employer has a duty of care to do all that is ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure the safety and welfare of employees. Among other things, this means telling employees about potential hazards involved with their job, and providing comprehensive training and safety equipment free of charge where necessary. Where an employer ignoring this duty of care has led to an injury, work accident claims can help the injured party gain compensation for their injury.
However, a compensation claim can only be made if the injured employee has done certain things to try and prevent the accident. First and foremost, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that employee’s must take reasonable care of their own health and safety. This can mean a range of things such as; tying up long hair when operating machinery, wearing the appropriate safety equipment provided by the employer, and more generally, following the company’s health and safety policies.
Making a work accident claim
Claiming compensation after an injury at work isn’t actually as complicated or daunting as most people think. You can get expert help from a personal injury solicitor who specialises in work accident claims; they will be able to do most of the paperwork for you. Also, you do not have to worry about having to go to court as the vast majority of claims are settled before they get that far.
If you are not sure how to find the right solicitor to handle your work accident claim, there are a number of companies that can do this for you. Choosing the right company to handle your claim is an important decision; some will be able to do so on a ‘no win no fee’ basis meaning if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any legal fees. In addition to no win no fee, some companies can also guarantee you receive 100% of the compensation awarded is your claim is successful. This is because your solicitor will recover their costs from the other side rather than deducting them from your compensation.