No one ever conceives of being seriously injured through the course of their occupation, but the reality is it doesn’t matter if you are in a job typically associated with danger, or not; all workers are exposed to serious risks. Just walking across your employer’s car park can be risky if icy, or even just talking on a phone if your sitting posture is poor.
If a family member is seriously injured while working, it is vital the correct steps are taken to ensure they receive the necessary medical care, rehabilitation, care, psychological counselling, and financial support to put them back into (or as close as possible) the same situation they were in before the accident. Remember, employers are insured in the event an employee is injured at work for any damages and costs incurred, so bringing a claim against them for a breach of health and safety law will not cost them.
The key steps to take following an accident at work are as follows:
1.Make sure you are medically examined – Often victims of accidents at work are injured but are not aware of the fact. For example, a blow to the head may later lead to symptoms of concussion, or a sore wrist could be a fractured scaphoid bone. If medical assistance is requested, do not refuse to be checked over. Many people are reluctant to visit or be checked by a physician, but it is imperative as they will detect problems before they worsen. If your loved one is seriously injured at work, emergency and intensive care physicians will prioritise making the medically patient stable, perhaps by stemming any uncontrolled blood loss or alleviating intra-cranial bleeding – both interventions that can save lives.
2.Gather evidence of your accident – Any photos, videos, and eye-witness accounts of the incident may be useful when bringing a claim for compensation, especially if your employer denies responsibility. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, the resultant injuries, and any other item which will provide useful evidence. If you are seriously injured, prioritise seeking medical attention over gathering evidence as this can be sought by your solicitor at a later date.
3.Make sure the accident is formally recorded – Any accident at work must be reported to the employer, and they must record the details in the formal accident book. If it is a family member who has been injured, you may need to contact the employer to ensure the incident was properly recorded. This will form part of the evidence for a compensation claim at a later date. Once recorded, your employer has a duty to report the accident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
4.Instruct an occupational personal injury solicitor – If the accident resulted from a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the victim might be eligible to bring a claim for compensation. Therefore, it is advisable as soon as feasible to instruct a personal injury solicitor who can immediately start legal proceedings on behalf of the injured party. There are two primary reasons for not delaying this step:
1) you typically only have three-years from the date of the accident (or date of knowledge of the injury) to file your claim for compensation with the court formally – any delay risks your case being ‘struck-out’, and
2) rehabilitation can be arranged to commence once the claimant is medically stable. While the representatives of both parties are encouraged to work together to agree on a comprehensive rehab plan within a short timescale, this can still take up to six weeks.
Russell Worth have been handling highly complex occupational accident claims for over 20 years and can take your case on a no-win-no-fee basis, therefore there will be no financial impact to you or your loved one should your claim not be successful. In addition, we always consider the wider needs of the family of the accident victim through what can be an extremely traumatic time, and offer any legal guidance needed.
5.Prioritise your physical and psychological recovery – With a solicitor acting on your behalf, it is important to focus on your wellbeing, or that of your injured family member. Your solicitor will make sure all legal and financial aspects are taken care of, including covering any loss of earnings due to being unable to work. If this requires an interim payment of money to cover immediate costs, these will be sought.
At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered a workplace injury and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.