Injured at Work, Is That a Breach of Contract?

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Injured at work breach of contract

If you’re injured at work, there may be a breach of contract if your employer doesn’t pay contractual sick pay. Your employers could breach contract when you return to work by not giving you the required support, or discriminating against you.

Being injured at work, whether or not you were at fault, can cause tensions that weren’t there before. That’s particularly likely if you’ve claimed compensation for a workplace injury.

Employers must treat you fairly, and this includes staying within the contract that you’ve been employed on.

Many things count as a breach of contract, and several of these might become an issue after you’ve been injured at work.

Read on to learn more about a breach of contract, what it is and how to respond to it.

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What Is a Breach of Contract?

When you’re first employed, the terms you’ve agreed are listed within your contract. It’ll cover everything from working hours to payment, and from duties and location.

If your employer later changes the contract without any warning or discussion, they could be in breach of contract, and you could take action against them – although Citizens Advice recommends you try to resolve issues informally first.

What Could Happen After an Accident at Work?

An accident at work is stressful enough, without added trouble from a breach of contract. One of the simplest forms of breach of contract you might face is a lack of contractual sick pay.

Not every employer offers contractual sick pay. This is above and beyond the statutory minimum, so certainly isn’t a requirement. If it’s included in your contract, you should be entitled to it if you take time off for an injury. Your employer could be in breach of contract if they refuse to make the contractual payments they agreed to.

Larger breaches of contract after an accident at work can include a complete change of job role. After your time off to recover, you might find that your employer has you doing different work. They might also offer lower pay, which again would be a breach of contract.

Finally, employers may be in breach of contract if you’re unfairly dismissed. If you’ve been injured at work, you shouldn’t lose your job or feel like you’re being pushed out. If you’re dismissed without good reason, or without following the correct dismissal procedures, your employer might be in breach of contract.

What About Constructive Dismissal?

A constructive dismissal is a form of breach of contract. This happens when an employee feels that they’ve been forced to quit their job.

An employer’s insurance should cover the costs of compensation claims for injuries at work. Despite this, some employers take it personally when a claim is made against them. Even if you’re made a compensation claim, you should be able to keep doing your job. If your employer makes things difficult, or completely impossible, this may be constructive dismissal.

Constructive dismissal may occur as a result of workplace bullying. If you work shifts, you might find that your hours have been cut until the work is no longer sustainable. On the other hand, you may be forced to work much longer. You may be demoted after being injured at work, or might not be paid for what you do.

You may face constructive dismissal if you’ve been made disabled after an accident at work, and your employer doesn’t do enough to accommodate your needs when you return. Employers must make reasonable accommodations. They should only dismiss you as a last resort if they can’t find a way to make things work. If your employer isn’t dismissing you but isn’t supporting you either, you might find that you’re unable to keep working and could be forced into quitting.

Constructive dismissal will also apply if your working environment’s unsafe and if you’re forced to stop doing your job because you risk another workplace injury.

Constructive dismissal is considered a serious breach of contract. If you’ve been a victim, the best thing to do is contact Citizens Advice.

How to Claim After a Breach of Contract

How you make a claim will depend on the current situation you’re in. In all cases, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help.

If you no longer work for the employer, you may be able to claim through an employment tribunal. Otherwise, you’ll make a breach of contract claim in court.

If you’re going down the route of an employment tribunal, your dispute may be settled by the HM Courts & Tribunals Service. They specifically hear claims, in an employment tribunal, for unfair dismissal and discrimination after you’ve already left the job.

However you make your claim, you must be prepared to attend a hearing in person. Gather the evidence you need and make sure that you’ve calculated any financial loss you’re claiming for. You may also be able to claim for emotional distress that you’ve suffered.

Steps to Deal With a Breach of Contract

Before you take any formal action, you should communicate with your employer. Keep all communication in writing where possible, so that you can use it as evidence.

If you can’t resolve the matter informally, you can move on to an employment tribunal or a court case for breach of contract. In order to increase your chances of success, have evidence of any financial loss and clarity about what you’re claiming for.

Legal Rights After an Injury at Work

Your employer has a duty to keep you safe and provide a safe working environment. They could be in breach of contract if that wasn’t the case.

If your employer’s been negligent and this has led to an accident, injury or illness, you have a right to make a personal injury claim.

You also have a right to make a claim if your breach of the contract came after your injury. This might apply if you’ve experienced discrimination or lost money after any workplace accident.

Which Route Should You Take for Your Claim?

Breach of contract claims is usually heard in the County Court of the High Court. Here, compensation awards are technical without limit. You’ll receive compensation according to the financial loss that you’ve suffered. It’s wise to get legal advice as soon as possible, since the process of claiming can be complex.

Legal advice can seem expensive, but in many cases, you can claim the money back from your employer if you’re successful. You have a maximum of six years to make a claim through the courts, but ideally, you should make your claim within three years at most.

An employment tribunal can award up to £25,000 for breach of contract. If you’re going down this route, you should start your claim within three months of employment termination. Here there are no fees for the hearing, though both sides remain completely responsible for their own legal fees.

A claim through the courts is financially risky, as you may lose a lot if your claim isn’t successful. There’s less to lose through an employment tribunal, though this option comes with a cap on your award and you’ll need to pay your own legal costs. You’ll only be able to go through an employment tribunal if you no longer work for the employer.

Help When You’re Injured at Work

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help if you want to claim against your employer. Our trusted financial partners can also support you, with information about small injury claims and the evidence that you might need.

Is It Worth Claiming Compensation Against My Employer?

Unfortunately, many employers are able to use a variety of tactics to stop employees from making perfectly legitimate compensation claims. If you have been injured as a consequence of negligence in the workplace, then you have every right to pursue compensation. Your employment status is protected under law, and you cannot be dismissed for pursuing a compensation claim.

Many people fail to realise, yes, if you are successful in your prosecution, then you will receive compensation. However, there is also the issue of holding negligent third parties to account.

It is only by holding these parties to account that processes and procedures will change in the future. Otherwise, nothing will change, and people in the future will experience the same difficulties as you.

How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

There are two ways to pursue compensation. Firstly, you can pursue compensation yourself, although it would be helpful to have knowledge of the UK legal system. Secondly, you can use personal injury claims companies who have experience in work-related incidents.

If you pursue compensation yourself, there is no cost; if you pursue compensation through personal injury claims companies, they will likely offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement.

How Does a “No Win No Fee” Arrangement Work?

Once you have collated the evidence to support your claim of negligence, it is time to approach a claims management company. Personal injury claims are related to “tort law” which effectively gives victims the opportunity to claim compensation where they have been injured as a consequence of negligent third parties.

When reviewing your evidence, they will estimate your chances of success. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, then they will likely offer a “no win no fee” arrangement.

This means that the claimant is not responsible for any of the charges incurred by their claims management company in pursuing their case - the company will cover their own costs. In exchange, the claims management company will look to negotiate a “success fee”. This is in effect their payment for a successful prosecution.

How Much Is a “Success Fee”?

The average rate for a success fee tends to be around 25% of any compensation awarded. It can and will vary from case to case, but this is a very popular arrangement between claimants and claims management companies.

Who Pays the Compensation if I’m Successful?

This is yet another misconception that has stopped many people from pursuing perfectly valid compensation claims. Each and every company in the UK is legally obliged to have insurance cover in the event of injuries in the workplace. So, all compensation payments will be made by the insurance company as part of your employer’s policy. It won’t affect their cash flow, it won’t lead to job losses, and whatever happens, it won’t be your fault.

Even if your employer went under before payment of a successful compensation claim, this is not the end of the road. If you can prove that there was a valid insurance policy in place at the time of your injury, then the insurance company will payout. This is yet another misconception that has certainly impacted the number of claims brought forward.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

 

Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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