Know your rights
Whilst health and safety regulations within the workplace may have greatly improved over the last few decades, accidents do still happen, and many such accidents in the workplace are still, sadly, preventable – had the correct precautionary measures been in place.
When accidents in the workplace do occur, people must be aware of their right to claim compensation from their employer, and the correct processes which can lead to them receiving adequate compensation for any injuries sustained.
Compensation claims for workplace injuries can be managed by solicitors such as an accident at work claims specialists Thompsons Scotland, they are experts at this sort of thing, and will do all that is within their legal power to make sure that your rights are protected.
Nobody should be expected to be injured at work, and by seeking out legal assistance you can not only receive financial compensation but also ensure that similar accidents do not occur in the future.
Types of workplace injuries
Workplace injuries, by nature, are incredibly varied. As you may imagine, some workplaces are more accident-prone than others, and claims can vary from minor injuries such as trips and falls, to more severe injuries such as head or skull damage, amputations, or even death.
What must be taken into account, however, is that the damaging effect of the injury often extends beyond the physical, and can often lead to a loss of confidence or ability to work for the injured – as well as strain and pressure on their families and loved ones.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) states that as many as 555,000 people have suffered from an injury within their workplace between 2017-18, with 144 of these cases tragically resulting in fatalities.
As mentioned, workplace injuries vary massively depending on the place of work, but some of the most common workplace injury claims are for injuries which are often found outside work too – such as knee injuries, spinal injuries, shoulder pain, back injuries, or head trauma.
Some of the most common injury claims for accidents that do not regularly happen outside of the workplace however include electrical injuries, burns, and scalds, crushing, puncture wounds from sharp objects, and cutting or severing.
Whatever the details of the injury are, if you feel you may be entitled to a claim then it is recommended that you contact a personal injury solicitor as quickly as possible. When you do, your eligibility for compensation will be determined by a team of experts who have your best interests at heart, and they will advise you on the next steps that are involved with making your claim.
Many of the most reputable personal injury solicitors offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ policy, which means that there are no upfront costs required from the claimant, and they do not have to pay the solicitors anything if their claim is unsuccessful. Therefore there is very little to lose, and all to be gained by seeking out professional legal assistance when making a workplace injury claim.
Don’t settle for less
Sadly, there is a tendency for those who have suffered a workplace injury to simply take the first – and often the smallest – offer of compensation which they are presented with by their employer’s insurance company.
These early-stage compensation offers from insurance companies are often opportunistic ways of ensuring that the employers are not held accountable. The compensation which is offered is generally far smaller than the amount which could be gained by making a claim through an independent solicitor.
Another drawback of taking the initial compensation offered by an insurance company is that this compensation rarely covers, or even considers, the additional losses (both financially and personally) that an injury may have caused the claimant or their family.
If you have taken time off from work due to an injury that is not the fault of the employer, then they are usually entitled to claim compensation for any sick-pay that you gained during this period. Generally, this compensation is paid by the defendant’s insurance provider, although if they have already accepted financial compensation from an insurance provider then they can be expected to personally repay the employer for any sick-pay they received.
Many insurance companies deliberately offer people reduced settlement offers after an accident as a way of minimizing the amount of compensation that they are expected to payout. These financial settlements are often ‘full and final’ payments – which means that the claimant cannot seek any further compensation if issues arise later on due to the injury sustained.
By accepting the initial early-stage compensation offer from your employer’s insurance provider you can inadvertently limit your future options and leave yourself in financial uncertainty if your injury proves more severe than your first thought.
Making a claim
If you or someone close to you has just recently suffered an accident at work – depending on the severity – you may be having to drastically adjust to the impact that the injury has caused on your physical wellbeing as well as your mental health.
As such, the process of making an injury claim has been designed to be as smooth and hassle-free as possible as personal injury lawyers understand the pressure that their clients can be under. By streamlining the legal process, it lets the claimant focus on their health and wellbeing – while the lawyers handle the legal side of things.
The first stage in any personal injury claim involves a no-obligation, informal conversation with a personal injury solicitor. This lets the solicitor gauge whether or not the claim is worth pursuing, and lets the client familiarise themselves with the process.
Pursuing a claim
Provided the decision is made to pursue the claim, the client is then asked again to explain the accident – in much greater detail. This is because the responsibility of proving the accident lies with the solicitor, and the more they know, the stronger a case they can build.
Once a clear picture has been made of how the accident occurred, the solicitor will then calculate the overall losses that the client has endured, and work out a rough amount of compensation they may be entitled to. Following this, the solicitor will then make contact with the employer – who will either agree to pay out the maximum amount of compensation or deny the claims, in which case the solicitor will pursue them in court to get the full amount of compensation for the client.
Whatever form your employment takes, everyone who works does so for financial security, and to help support themselves and their families as best they can. When the ability to do so is lost – through accidental injury, negligence, or otherwise – it is important that the legal rights of the injured are protected, and that they can get any compensation which they are rightfully owed.