If you suffered a neck injury at work, this has likely caused you physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and financial losses. Unfortunately, such injuries are common and often happen because employers fail to follow health and safety guidelines dictated by UK legislation.
Neck injuries may range from minor sprains and strains to severe fractures and damage to the spinal cord. These can result in pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, numbness and weakness, and may take several weeks to months to heal. In severe cases, a neck injury at work may lead to long-term disability, such as partial or complete paralysis.
If you believe you suffered damages due to negligence, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible by calling free on 0800 678 1410 or requesting a call back. A personal injury solicitor will assess your case and let you know if you are eligible for neck injury at work compensation.
Can I claim compensation for a neck injury at work?
If you have injured your neck at work, it does not mean you are automatically entitled to compensation. To have a valid claim for a neck injury at work, you will need to show that:
- The party you are claiming against owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by committing a negligent or intentional act
- You suffered a neck injury as a result of this within the last three years
If you want to start a neck injury at work claim, your solicitor will help prove a breach of duty and get all the necessary evidence to show liability and how your injury has affected your life.
Under UK law, you may still be entitled to compensation if you have partially contributed to your neck injury, such as not following proper safety procedures or not wearing the appropriate protective equipment. Under the concept of contributory negligence, the court may reduce the compensation amount by a percentage to reflect your contribution to the injury.
You can also start a claim against your employer even if you suffered a neck injury at work due to the fault of a co-worker. Vicarious liability is a legal concept that holds an employer liable for the actions of its employees that result in harm or injury to a third party, even if the employer was not directly responsible for their actions.
What should I do if I have suffered an injured neck at work?
If you suffered a neck injury at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention and have your neck checked and treated by a medical professional. That will ensure that your condition will not worsen, and your medical notes will serve as proof of the type and extent of your injuries and any treatments or medications you received.
If you believe your injury was due to your employer’s negligence, you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. They will discuss your circumstances during a free case assessment and determine whether you may be entitled to neck injury at work compensation. If your claim has merit, they will help you gather evidence to support it, which could include:
- Photographs or a video of the accident scene before anything is moved or repaired;
- Witness statements from colleagues or supervisors to help prove your version of the events if the defendant does not admit liability;
- A signed copy of an accident report you should file with your employer to confirm the date, time and location of your neck injury;
- If available, CCTV footage of the accident that caused your injured neck;
- Photos of any visible injuries and your recovery process;
- Your notes about how the accident occurred and how your neck injury at work has affected your life;
- Proof of all the financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your accident, such as wage slips, receipts and bank statements.
It is essential to take these steps as soon as possible after the injury to ensure the best possible outcome. Once you have all the necessary evidence, your solicitor will contact your employer or their insurer to inform them of your allegations of negligence and negotiate the best settlement on your behalf.
Employer duty of care to prevent a neck injury at work
No matter the size of their company, every employer has a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work. Your employer’s legal responsibilities are stated by various UK legislation, such as:
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- The Manual Handling Regulations 1992
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
Under these and other UK laws, some of the ways employers can prevent a neck injury at work include:
- Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards and take steps to eliminate or minimize them;
- Ensure that the workplace is free from hazards and that employees have a safe working environment;
- Provide employees with adequate breaks to rest and recover, particularly if they are performing physically demanding work;
- Provide appropriate equipment, such as lifting aids, to reduce the risk of neck injuries;
- Ensure that employees receive adequate training on how to perform their work safely, including how to lift heavy objects and operate machinery;
- Ensure that all workplace equipment, machinery and tools comply with the relevant safety requirements;
- Take into account each employee’s age, experience and physical condition.
If you suffered a neck injury at work due to a breach of these or other health and safety duties, you might be eligible for compensation.
Could I lose my job if I claim against my employer?
The short answer is no. It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee’s contract because they have made a personal injury claim against them. Employers have a legal duty to ensure a safe working environment for all staff, and a breach of their responsibilities would make them liable for compensation.
No matter the size of the company you work for, they are required by law to have Employers’ Liability (EL) insurance against legal and compensation expenses from employee claims. Even in cases where the company has gone out of business, compensation for a neck injury at work is still payable by the insurance company that provided cover at the time.
In the UK, unfair dismissal laws protect employees from being dismissed unfairly by their employers. Examples of unfair dismissal include dismissal based on an employee’s race, gender, age, religion, or disability, for taking time off work for family or medical reasons, or for raising health and safety issues in the workplace.
Employees with a minimum of two years with a company are protected from unfair dismissal and can only be sacked for a valid reason, following a comprehensive and impartial process. However, if you are terminated for initiating or considering a personal injury claim, this will most likely be viewed as an automatic unfair dismissal. Employees are not required to have completed two years of service to claim for automatic unfair dismissal.
If you believe that you have faced discrimination or unfair dismissal due to making a neck injury at work claim, you may be able to take further legal action against your employer. It is essential to seek legal advice if you have any concerns about your employment status after making a claim.
Common causes leading to a neck injury at work claim
There are several common causes that may lead to a neck injury at work claim, including:
Slip, trip and fall accidents
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can be a common cause of neck injuries in the workplace. These accidents can happen if the floor is wet or slippery, if there are obstacles or hazards that are not properly marked, or if the lighting in the area is inadequate.
Lifting or carrying heavy objects can put a significant strain on the neck, leading to injuries such as sprains, strains, and herniated disks. Improper technique or inadequate training on safe manual handling practices can increase the risk of these types of injuries. Additionally, employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment and ensure that employees receive appropriate equipment to safely carry out manual handling tasks.
Repetitive strain injuries
Repetitive strain injuries are due to prolonged and repeated activities that strain the muscles, tendons, and nerves in the neck. These are often associated with poor posture, repetitive motions, and lengthy periods of sitting or standing in the same position. If your employer has failed to take adequate measures to protect your health and safety, you might be eligible for neck injury at work compensation.
Accidents involving machinery
Machinery accidents can cause severe neck injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, and spinal cord damage. For example, a worker may suffer a neck injury from being hit by moving machinery or caught in a faulty machine. Improper use or maintenance of machinery, inadequate safety measures, and lack of training are common reasons for such accidents.
Vehicle accidents, including those involving company cars or lorries, can cause whiplash or other types of neck injuries. Vehicle accidents can happen in various work settings, such as construction sites, warehouses, factories, and transportation industries.
Workplace assaults can cause various neck injuries depending on the severity and type of attack. Some possible neck injuries resulting from workplace assaults include whiplash, neck sprains and strains, neck fractures, dislocation of the neck, and spinal cord damage. Additionally, victims of workplace assaults may suffer from psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can also have physical manifestations, including neck pain and tension headaches.
Inadequate training or protective equipment
Employers have a duty of care to provide adequate training and protective equipment to their employees to prevent neck injuries. Failure to do so can result in compensation claims. For example, if employees are not trained on proper lifting techniques or provided with a back brace when lifting heavy objects, they may be at risk of developing a neck injury.
Similarly, a lack of appropriate safety gear, such as a helmet or neck brace, may put them at risk of sustaining a neck injury in the event of an accident. Lack of proper ergonomics in the workplace, such as poorly designed workstations or chairs, can also contribute to the development of neck injuries over time.
This list is not exhaustive, and the circumstances of your accident may have been different. As long as your employer or another party was at least partially to blame for it, you should be able to claim for a neck injury at work.
Types of neck injuries you could claim compensation for
A neck injury is an injury that affects the cervical spine, which is the part of the spine that runs through the neck. It can involve damage to the bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, or other tissues in the neck, which can be due to several factors, including trauma, overuse, or degenerative conditions. Some common types of neck injuries that could result in an accident at work claim include:
Whiplash is a common neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly jerked backwards and then forward or vice versa, causing the neck to be hyperextended and then hyper-flexed. This sudden and forceful movement can result in damage to the soft tissues of the neck, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Whiplash is a common injury resulting from car accidents but can also occur from workplace accidents or falls.
Strains and sprains
A sprain refers to the damage of ligaments that connect neck bones, whereas a strain is an injury to the tendons or muscles. Both injuries can lead to pain, stiffness, and restricted range of motion, which may require extensive physical therapy or even surgery for recovery.
These injuries typically occur when the neck is subjected to sudden and excessive force, such as a fall or a blow to the head, but can also be due to poor posture, repetitive motions and heavy lifting. If you suffered a sprain or strain due to your employer’s negligence, you might be able to claim neck injury at work compensation.
Herniated or slipped discs
The discs are small, spongy cushions that sit between the vertebrae in the spine and provide cushioning and support. When one of these discs is damaged, the soft material inside can bulge or rupture, pressing on nearby nerves and causing pain, tingling, or numbness in the neck, arms, or hands. This type of injury can be due to several factors, including lifting heavy objects, poor posture, repetitive strain, or sudden trauma to the neck.
A neck fracture, also known as a cervical fracture, occurs when one or more of the seven cervical vertebrae are broken or fractured. Neck fractures can occur in the workplace due to falls from height, being struck by falling objects, or being involved in a machinery accident. Some occupations, such as construction work or manual labour, may be at higher risk for neck fractures due to the physical demands of the job. Proper safety procedures and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment are essential to prevent a work-related neck injury.
A dislocation occurs when the bones in the neck are forced out of their normal position, often causing severe pain and discomfort and potentially damaging the spinal cord. In the workplace, neck dislocation can be due to accidents involving heavy machinery, falls from heights, or activities that involve heavy lifting and repetitive motions. In addition, physical altercations with co-workers or customers can also cause neck dislocations.
Spinal cord damage
Spinal cord damage is a severe neck injury that can result in partial or complete loss of sensation and motor function in the arms, legs, and other body parts below the injury level. In severe cases, damage to the spinal cord can lead to paralysis or even death. Common symptoms of spinal cord damage in the neck include pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and difficulty breathing or speaking. You must seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a spinal cord injury.
If you suffered any type of injury due to your employer’s negligence, you might be able to make a neck injury at work claim. You can find out if your case has merit by entering your details in our online claim form or calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
Neck injury at work compensation awards
Each claim for a neck injury at work is unique, so it is hard to state exactly how much compensation you might receive. Before negotiating your settlement, your solicitor will ensure that all your losses are included in your claim and that you will receive a fair settlement. To calculate your compensation, they will look at two types of damages:
General damages are based on the pain, suffering, and other subjective losses you endured because of your injuries. Some examples include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Physical disability and loss of mobility
- Loss of amenities, such as the ability to pursue a hobby or social activity
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
Special damages cover the financial losses and expenses incurred due to the neck injury at work, such as:
- Medical expenses such as prescriptions, diagnostic tests and surgery
- Mobility aids and adaptations to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability
- Travel expenses to medical appointments
- Loss of earnings during recovery and loss of earning capacity
- Cost of physical therapy and counselling
- Cost of care and assistance during recovery, even if provided by friends or family
Special damages are calculated by adding up all of the actual expenses and financial losses incurred as a result of the injury based on receipts, invoices, pay slips and other documents. To calculate any future special damages, an assessment will be made to determine the expected cost of future expenses, such as ongoing medical treatment, long-term care, or loss of future earnings. This assessment will take into account the severity of the injury, the expected recovery time, and any ongoing effects that this is likely to have on your life.
General damages are a bit harder to calculate and are based on the extent and severity of the injury. The Judicial College publishes guidelines that offer a range of compensation awards for neck injuries based on their type and severity. For example:
- Up to £2,450 for minor neck injuries with recovery within three months
- Between £2,450 and £4,350 for injuries with recovery within one year
- Between £4,350 and £7,890 for a mild neck injury that has potentially exacerbated a pre-existing condition, with a recovery period of up to two years
- Between £7,890 and £13,740 for a moderate neck injury, such as a fracture or dislocation, with a recovery period of no more than five years and some form of long-term damage
- Between £13,740 and £24,990 for an injury resulting in significant limitation of mobility, long-term pain and considerable discomfort, with a recovery period of more than five years
- Between £24,990 and £38,490 for a more severe injury causing substantial mobility problems, chronic pain and prevents you from carrying out work or daily activities
- Between £45,470 and £55,990 for a severe neck injury causing marked long-term disability
- Between £65,740 and £130,930 for severe injuries leading to high levels of disability and chronic pain and headaches
- Up to £148,330 for the most severe neck injuries resulting in partial or complete paralysis, reduced independence and long-term pain and suffering
What is the time limit to start a neck injury at work claim?
According to the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years to claim compensation for a neck injury at work starting from the date of your accident. This is known as the limitation period, after which the court will usually no longer accept a claim, even if it has merit.
There are some exceptions to the three-year limitation date. For example:
- If your injury developed over time due to overuse and repetitive strain or was not immediately apparent after an accident, you have three years to claim from the date of knowledge. This would be the date when you first became aware of the injury and that it was due to your work.
- If a child was on work experience or working part-time and suffered a neck injury at work, no time limits apply until they turn 18. Afterwards, they will have until their 21st birthday to start a claim.
- If the claimant lacks the mental capacity to seek compensation due to a pre-existing condition or a workplace accident, a litigation friend could start a claim on their behalf. In this case, no time limit would apply.
- If you are claiming on behalf of someone who died due to an injured neck at work, you will have three years to seek compensation from the date of their death.
Regardless of your circumstances, we recommend speaking with a solicitor as soon as possible after the injury to ensure that the claim is made within the applicable time limit. That will also ensure that any relevant details about your accident are still fresh in your mind and will give your solicitor plenty of time to gather evidence to support your case and secure neck injury at work compensation.
Will I be offered a No Win No Fee service?
If you suffered an injured neck at work due to someone else’s negligence and want to pursue compensation, you might be able to claim on a no win no fee basis. Before signing a no win no fee agreement, your solicitor will offer you a free consultation to assess the strength of your claim and your chances of success.
If your case has merit, they will offer you a No Win No Fee service (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement), meaning that:
- You can start a claim regardless of your financial situation
- You do not have to pay any upfront fees to your solicitor
- They assume the risk of the case while you face no financial risks
- If you lose the case, you do not have to pay your solicitor a single penny
- If you win, they will receive a success fee deducted from your compensation award
The success fee is meant to cover the solicitor’s costs and expenses and compensates them for the risk they took by signing a CFA. The success fee percentage is agreed upon in advance with you and is capped at a maximum of 25% of the compensation awarded, excluding damages for future care and loss of earnings.
If you make a No Win No Fee claim, your solicitor will also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. This type of insurance policy can be purchased after an incident has occurred and is designed to cover the costs of legal proceedings, such as court fees and legal expenses, in case you lose the case.
No Win No Fee gives everyone the chance to seek compensation for a neck injury without taking financial risks. If your claim fails, you will not be left out of pocket, and if you win, you keep the compensation awarded to you minus the success fee and the cost of the ATE insurance policy.