Legal Guides

We use plain and simple English to give you an overview of the most common areas of law.

What are my rights if I have an accident at work?

It’s only when you have been involved in a non-fault accident, that you realise just how much your life gets turned upside down by it.

If you have a non-fault accident at work and are injured in the process, there are other factors that add extra stress to an already difficult situation. You may be losing earnings because you are unable to work. A claim for accident at work compensation would start to solve a lot of the problems that are building up for you. However, doing this involves making a claim against the person, firm or company that pays your wages.

It is a difficult position to find yourself in. On the one hand, you may have a great relationship with your employer. On the other hand, you may not have very much time for the company that you work for or the people in charge there. You reason that, making a claim against them may just give them an excuse to get rid of you.

At the heart of the dilemma, in either scenario, is the fear of financial insecurity. Make a claim and maybe lose your job. Don’t claim and you lose out financially and possibly suffer hardship.

Knowing your legal rights may help you make a reasoned decision.

Duty of Care

Your employer owes you and your co-workers a duty of care whilst you are at work. This means ensuring that :

  • your place of work is a safe place to carry out your duties.
  • you have been trained in a safe method of working,
  • any equipment you need to use to carry out your job is in good working condition
  • all necessary protective equipment will be provided to allow you to do your job safely.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 are there to protect you in this regard.

If your employer breaches this duty of care and, as a result, you are injured in an accident that results from that breach, then you are entitled to make a claim for accident at work compensation.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

Your employer is obliged by law to hold employer’s liability insurance so that if an employee is injured in an accident which turn out to be the fault of the employer, the insurance company, not the employer will pay out compensation.

Can I be dismissed for making a claim?

If you decide to make a personal injury claim following an accident at work, your employer cannot sack you for it. If an employer does sack you because you are making a claim against them, you will have a strong case for making an unfair dismissal claim against them. Most employers understand and abide by the law.

Should your life be made unbearable at work, either by the conduct of your employers or by your fellow workers, simply because you have brought a claim against the company, you may have strong grounds for walking out of the job and making a claim for constructive dismissal in addition to your personal injury claim.

This isn’t something you should do without taking legal advice.

What about moral considerations?

If, because of your employer’s negligence, you are injured at work and are reluctant to make a personal injury claim, think about this: perhaps you have a moral duty to your fellow employees to make a claim?

Whichever way you look at it, accident at work claims can and do change employer behaviour. If a business owner has been slipshod when it comes to health and safety measures, the process of a claim being made against them will focus their mind.

Good employers will take note, accept a need for change and implement. Even bad employers will be grudgingly forced to make changes. If workers don’t make claims when they are entitled to, then nothing will have been learned. Future similar types of accident may be the result.

Article written and contributed by Mooneerams the Personal Injury solicitors.

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. It is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Mooneerams directly.

Published on 26th February 2020
(Last updated 7th May 2021)