You might be eligible to make an office accident claim if you have been injured at work in the past three years through no fault of your own. A personal injury solicitor can help you claim compensation for your injuries and any financial losses related to the accident.
For many people, the workplace is like a second home. You spend a good part of your day at the office, and you deserve to feel safe and protected while working.
Although offices are not notoriously hazardous workspaces, office accidents and injuries are common and can have severe impacts on your life.
Employers must follow the Health and Safety Executive guidelines and take all the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of employees, risking severe penalties when failing to do so.
Most offices in the UK are up-to-date and have implemented the latest safety innovations. Nonetheless, sometimes things get overlooked, or employers may try cutting corners, putting you and your colleagues at risk.
Having an accident at work can be very distressing. You can suffer minor or even severe and life-threatening injuries and might experience long-lasting psychological trauma.
If you were the victim of an office accident, you might be entitled to claim compensation. An experienced solicitor can provide all the information you need to make a claim and will support you throughout the process.
Can I make an office accident claim?
If you were injured in an accident at work, you might feel hesitant and awkward about making an office injury claim against your employer. You might worry about getting them into trouble or about the repercussions the claim might have on your employment, but you have no reason to worry.
All employers are required to take out Employer’s Liability insurance which safeguards their business against personal injury claims, covering any legal fees and compensation expenses.
Also, unfair dismissal laws state that your employer cannot treat you differently or fire you following an office accident claim. So you don’t need to worry about this when going through with your claim.
If you suffered an office injury, claiming compensation might be the best thing to do. Besides providing you with financial support during recovery, a claim will highlight any issues at the workplace, so that appropriate changes can be made to improve office safety.
To be eligible for an office accident claim, you will need to show that:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care
- They did not fulfil their duty of care
- You were injured as a result of their negligence.
Furthermore, the accident must have happened in the last three years, and you need to have evidence to support your claim.
Even if you think you might not deserve compensation for your injuries or that you don’t have enough proof, a personal injury solicitor can help gather the evidence you need and determine your chances of success.
If a solicitor agrees to take on your case, you can make a no win no fee agreement, so you don’t have to worry about any upfront payments. If you win the case, the solicitor will take a ‘success fee’ that will be agreed upon in advance. This fee is capped to a maximum of 25% of the compensation settlement awarded.
Common types of office accident claims
Unfortunately, however safe an office may seem, numerous hazards can cause employees to get injured. This includes the following:
Slips, trips and falls
Employers are required to follow the HSE legislation and conduct routine risk assessments to ensure employee safety. When they fail to do so, a slip or trip could happen due to:
- boxes and other obstacles left improperly on the floor
- wet, unmarked surfaces
- loose carpeting or uncovered cables
- uneven pavements
- defective handrails
- drawers that are left open
- unsteady chairs or other furniture
A slip, trip and fall can result in sprains, cuts, bruises, dislocated shoulders, or even broken bones and traumatic brain injury. The healing process can take months, and sometimes you might never fully recover.
If the accident was due to a negligent employer, you deserve compensation for all that you’ve endured. Get in touch with a solicitor to start an injury claim by calling free on 0800 678 1410.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
Repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, can occur after doing physically repetitive tasks, causing damage to muscles, nerves and tendons. Most often, RSI affects the wrists and hands, neck, shoulders, forearms or elbows. In offices, it commonly afflicts typists that spend a lot of time at the keyboard without proper wrist support and not enough rest periods.
Work factors that increase the risk of RSI include:
- repetitive activities
- prolonged arduous, high-intensity activity without rest
- poor posture or awkward working positions
- vibrations from particular equipment
- cold temperatures or stress
The symptoms related to RSI can range from mild to severe and have a gradual development. They include:
- pain and aching
- tingling or numbness
Your employer has a legal duty of care to try to prevent work-related repetitive strain injury. If you develop symptoms of RSI and suspect they might be related to your job, you might be eligible to claim office injury compensation. A solicitor can give you a better idea of the claiming process. You can get a free consultation with a legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 or by requesting a call back.
Faulty office equipment
Neglecting the proper maintenance of electrical and electronic equipment can have disastrous consequences. Electric shocks due to improper insulations can cause significant nerve damage, deep burns, paralysis, brain damage and even death.
Some other situations in which negligence can cause a workplace accident are:
- a badly stacked object falling from a height
- lifting heavy objects
- poor health and safety employee training
- exposure to toxic and dangerous substances
- improper posture due to poorly designed office chairs
- eye strain because of insufficient lighting or computer screens
This list is not exhaustive, and many other circumstances can lead to an accident at work. If you suffered an office injury and think that another party should be held liable, don’t hesitate to contact a solicitor. The compensation you could receive for an office accident can cover all your medical expenses, loss of earnings, and much more.
What should you do if you are injured in an office accident?
If you suffered an injury at the office and were seriously hurt, the first thing you need to do is seek immediate medical assistance. Prompt medical intervention can reduce the risk of any aggravations related to your injury, and a medical report can be used as key evidence if you decide to claim compensation.
Filing a formal office accident report in the company’s logbook is also necessary. If the company or organisation doesn’t have an accident book, you should write down the accident details and submit a report to a manager or supervisor. Don’t forget to ask for a signed copy of the report.
Every accident that keeps an employee from returning to work for more than seven consecutive days must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive within 15 days, according to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). This is the employer’s obligation, but you should make sure they did file the report if possible.
Take photographs or video footage of the area where the accident happened and of your injuries. This can be valuable and undeniable evidence if you decide to claim office accident compensation.
As soon as possible, get the contact details of any witnesses and a description of what they saw. Even if your injuries seem minor at first, they might prove more serious afterwards, and a witness statement may change the course of your claim.
Keep a detailed record of your expenses and financial losses. These include medication, hospital bills, loss of earnings, the care and assistance you might have required during recovery. If your employer is liable for your accident, you should receive compensation for all the related expenses.
Contacting a solicitor can be fundamental for securing a successful claim. They can help determine who was at fault for your accident and whether you can be eligible for compensation. You don’t have to worry about any upfront or hidden fees, as you can claim on a no win no fee basis. For an expert opinion, call 0800 678 1410 and get a free consultation with a legal advisor. Alternatively, you can enter your details to receive a call back.
Employer responsibilities for office safety
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state that employers have a legal duty to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees.
If they neglect their duty and you suffer an injury after an accident at work, you are likely to have a legitimate claim for compensation.
Employers have an obligation to:
- carry out regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards and keep you informed about them
- provide safety training and proper work equipment to employees
- keep the working environment clean
- set up emergency plans
- check that all materials are stored and handled safely
- verify that all the devices are safe to use
- appoint a supervisor responsible for health and safety issues
- provide adequate facilities for employee welfare
- certify that all facilities meet health and safety requirements
- provide adequate first aid equipment
- prevent or control exposure to substances that may damage your health
- make sure that appropriate warning signs are provided and looked after
- report accidents, injuries and dangerous occurrences to the Health and Safety Executive
To make sure that the office is a safe and healthy place to work, employers should:
- keep temperatures at a comfortable level and provide proper ventilation
- make sure there is sufficient lighting on all the premises
- keep the workplace clean
- make floors and stairs safe to use
- provide washing facilities and drinking water
- make sure employees get appropriate rest breaks and days off work
- keep the equipment clean and safe to use
Under UK laws, employers have to fulfil a comprehensive list of obligations in order to guarantee your safety at the workplace. To win a compensation claim, you need to prove your employer neglected one or more of their duties.
A trained solicitor is familiar with all the legal procedures and can help you understand whether you have a solid foundation to make an office injury claim.
Office accidents involving visitors
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that employers must ensure a safe environment not only for the staff but also for any members of the public that might visit the premises.
If you suffered an injury while visiting an office, you are still eligible to claim office accident compensation, just as if you were one of the employees.
If an accident that results in an injury should happen to you, make sure to ask for their accident book. Having a registered report after an accident occurs is a great help to solicitors when making a compensation claim.
To make a personal injury claim as a visitor, you must prove that:
- the business/organisation you were visiting owed you a duty of care
- they were negligent in their health and safety duties
- their negligence caused you to get injured following an accident on their premises
Keep in mind that there are a series of steps that you should take if you want to make an office accident claim:
- report the accident to the responsible party and ask for a copy of the report
- photograph the accident scene
- get the contact details of any witnesses
- find out if any CCTV cameras might have captured the accident
- get medical help and keep all your medical records
- document all expenses and losses you incurred because of the accident
Even if you were too injured or shaken to gather any proof, a solicitor might still be able to collect the necessary evidence for you. Call the free number 0800 678 1410 for a consultation with a legal adviser, or enter your details to receive a call back from an experienced adviser.
How much compensation is my office injury worth?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the injuries you sustained and how this affected your life, you can typically claim compensation for the following:
- physical and mental suffering
- loss of earnings, if you had to take time off work
- medical expenses such as medication, private hospitalisation or rehabilitation
- care costs, if you require assistance during recovery
- recovery time
- travel expenses related to the accident
- decreased quality of life
How much compensation you receive depends on the extent to which the accident affected the above-mentioned aspects of your life. For example, according to guidelines set out by the Judicial College, you could receive:
- Up to £56,180 for a severe fracture to the wrist or arm
- Up to £9,620 for a minor fracture to the wrist or arm, with complete recovery
- £40,410 to £205,580 for moderate brain damage
- Up to £7,410 for a minor neck injury
- £42,680 to £139,210 for a severe neck injury
- £11,730 to £36,390 for a moderate back injury
The amount awarded is significantly influenced by the severity of your injuries. To assess this, your solicitor will arrange a free medical examination for you. This usually takes no longer than 20 minutes, and consequently, you will receive a medical report that will be used as evidence in your office accident claim.
A solicitor can estimate how much compensation you should receive by considering the many ways in which the accident affected your life. They will be able to advise you whether to accept or not any compensation offers you might receive, making sure you get the best deal.
Is there a time limit for office accident claims?
The Limitation Act 1980 states that you should start a claim within three years from the accident date.
However, there are some circumstances where you might not be aware that your employer’s negligence caused your injury or illness until a later date.
For example, if you suffered an illness due to exposure to asbestos in your office building, it might not be apparent until many years later.
In these cases, the countdown will begin on the date you discovered that the injury or illness was caused by your employer’s negligence, also known as the date of knowledge.
If you are claiming on behalf of a child, you can do so at any point before they turn 18, regardless of when the accident occurred. After a child turns 18, they have another three years to make a claim in their own name.
There are no time limits for making an office accident claim on behalf of a claimant with reduced mental capacity.
If a family member was the victim of a fatal accident at work, you have three years from the day they died to start an office accident claim.
Other circumstances could impact the limitation date. Nonetheless, it is always advisable to start the claims process as soon as possible, while the accident details are still fresh and it is generally easier to gather supporting evidence.
What evidence will I need to support my office accident claim?
If you want to make a successful claim following an accident at work, you will need to prove that your employer breached their duty of care towards you, and you were injured as a result of their negligence.
You may be able to gather some key evidence at the site of the accident, while further proof can be collected afterwards. This could include:
- Photographs of your injuries and the accident scene
- Photos of what caused the accident
- Contact details of any witnesses
- A copy of the accident report filed with your employer
- Any CCTV footage that might have captured the event
- Medical records
- Receipts of medical expenses
- A written description of the events as they unfolded
- Photos of your recovery process
If you don’t know how to obtain some of the evidence, a solicitor can help you gather everything you need to secure a successful claim.
Could I be fired for making a compensation claim against my employer?
If you were injured in an accident at work and think you deserve compensation, you are not claiming against your employer but their insurance company.
Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, every business owner must get personal injury insurance to safeguard their activity against any accidents that might happen on the premises.
If you win your office accident claim, the insurance company will have to award the compensation, so your employer won’t need to cover any costs.
You might still be worried that they could take revenge on you for pointing out problems at the office and making them look bad. Especially if your injuries were minor, you might prefer to let the accident pass rather than find yourself in an unpleasant situation with your employer.
But keep in mind that even relatively minor injuries can result in fair compensation settlements that will cover your trauma, medical expenses and the time you had to take off work.
If you worry that your employer might fire you or treat you differently, it is important to know that there are unfair dismissal laws to protect you. Therefore, you may be able to take legal action if you feel you received unfair treatment.
If you reported an accident at work, exposing health and safety issues in the workplace, and you got fired afterwards, you could be eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim.
Your employer’s unfair behaviour might force you to leave your job against your will. They might have reduced your salary, demoted you or increased your work hours as retribution for your office accident claim. This is called constructive dismissal, and it entitles you to claim compensation.
If you think you have been treated unfairly after claiming office accident compensation, you should contact a solicitor. For more information on the matter, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, enter your details to request a call back.