Whether nobody’s to blame or someone was negligent, an accident at work can be a devastating experience. Even small accidents can force you to take time off work.
Meanwhile, more severe injuries can have a permanent impact.
Legally, you can’t be dismissed after an accident at work, even if you claim compensation. If it’s happened to you, then you may have a case for claiming unfair dismissal, which would result in compensation.
Whether you’ve just needed a little time off, or your accident has left you unable to your job as you’ve done it before, read on to find out more about what happens if you’re dismissed after an accident at work.
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Even if you just need a few days off, an accident at work has an impact. Taking time to recover from a small injury might mean that you’re judged by your employer. Perhaps they saw the accident and don’t understand how your injury requires time off, or maybe they’re worried that you’re going to claim compensation.
Larger injuries cause even bigger problems. You might be left with permanent damage that will impact the way you do your job. There’s a chance you’ll never be able to do the same job that you did before or a possibility that you’ll need accommodations so you can keep doing what you’ve always done.
An accident at work can lead to a loss of income, even without being dismissed. Things are worse if you feel like you’re losing shifts, or have been unfairly dismissed.
While this article looks at the rights of employees, especially after an accident at work, it is also important to focus on the process of following through with a personal injury claim. In order to claim compensation, you first need to prove that your employer was negligent, which led to your accident.
This will require evidence such as:-
This is just an example of some of the evidence commonly used when looking to prove negligence and ultimately pursue compensation from your employer.
If you have been the victim of an accident in the workplace as a consequence of negligence by your employer AND suffered unfair dismissal, there may be grounds to claim significant compensation. When looking at a personal injury claim, there are two different issues to consider which, are known as general damages and special damages.
General damages relate to:-
Special damages can be significantly more and include:-
There may well be a whole host of different issues to take into consideration such as loss of bonuses, loss of pension, speciality vehicle requirements and much more. The issue of unfair dismissal and compensation will be reviewed separately from your personal injury compensation claim.
We have covered this element in a different section of this article. However, employees are protected from unfair dismissal by numerous acts of Parliament with the courts looking particularly unfavourably on scenarios where the employee has also been injured in the workplace.
Even if you’ve claimed compensation and taken your employer to court, they are not legally allowed to dismiss you after an injury. If you can prove that your dismissal is a direct result of your injury, you could be entitled to further compensation to rectify the way you’ve been treated.
Employers can be subtle. They might bide their time, looking for other excuses for dismissal so that their reason isn’t obvious. Alternatively, if you work on flexible shifts, you might notice that your working hours drop. It’s not right that you’re treated this way after an accident at work, so it’s very important that you understand your rights and want to do if you think you’re a victim.
You may be able to claim unfair dismissal if you’ve lost your job after an accident. This may be because your employer felt that they didn’t want to accommodate your needs, or could be revenge for a compensation claim that you made as a result of an injury.
To be eligible to claim for unfair dismissal, you should have worked for the employer in question for at least two years. In some cases, you can still claim despite a shorter length of time in your role.
You’ll need to prove that you haven’t done anything that could be classed as misconduct. If the accident at work was your fault in the first place, you can be fairly dismissed.
Employers might dismiss employees after accidents at work as a way to protect their own interests. Even if you haven’t tried to claim compensation, they may be worried about what comes next and whether you could turn against them. It’s up to you, and then the courts, to determine the real reason for dismissal.
If you’re left permanently affected by an accident at work, your employer has a responsibility to make accommodations for your needs. These should be reasonable accommodations, providing a fair balance for employer and employee. Reasonable accommodations should mean that you can keep doing your job, even if you need a little extra support or some different equipment.
If you can’t do your job, even with adjustments, your employer’s dismissal may be fair. They’re not obligated to keep you in employment if you can’t do what you’re paid for. Here, the decision that needs to be made is whether your employee tried their hardest to keep you in your role. Dismissal should only be a last resort if you’re unable to keep doing your job.
After an accident or injury at work, you might decide to try and claim compensation to cover lost earnings and any out-of-pocket expenses. This can damage the relationship between you and your employer.
Your employer can’t choose to dismiss you because you’ve claimed for personal injury. In fact, if you feel that you’re being treated badly, you can claim for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal applies if you feel that you’re unable to keep doing your job, not because you’ve been actively dismissed but because relationships are too fraught.
If you’re actually dismissed from your job, or if you believe you’ve been a victim of constructive dismissal, you can seek legal advice to help you make a claim to set things right.
According to the Employment Rights Act 1998, there are only a few reasons that you can be dismissed from your job. You may be dismissed if you’re not capable of doing the job, or you’re found not to be qualified for it.
You can be dismissed if you’ve committed misconduct of some kind. Gross misconduct can result in instant dismissal without warning, whilst otherwise, you’ll have to have gone through three verbal warnings and two written ones.
You can be made redundant if your job role is no longer viable. There’s a redundancy process that needs to be followed in this case.
You can also be dismissed if your employer has another very good reason, not covered by the previous definitions of fair dismissal. In this case, the onus is on your employer to prove that their reason was valid.
If you don’t think your employer has a good reason to dismiss you from your job, you might have a case for unfair dismissal, and you should seek legal advice. This includes any situation where your employer doesn’t try to accommodate your needs after an accident.
To avoid being accused of unfair dismissal, your employer should make every effort to support you after an accident. They should make sure that you’re safe returning to work and should accommodate any new needs.
Your employer shouldn’t make you feel bad for the accident or a subsequent claim for compensation.
Your employer should carry out an occupational health assessment. This will help to determine what you need and how your employer can help you. The assessment may show that you need more time off, and this should be provided as required.
It may be that after an accident at work, you and your employer agree that you should no longer work there. This could be the case even if you weren’t to blame for the accident at all.
You have a right to sign a mutual agreement for you to leave your position. The terms of this agreement should be kept in writing and signed by you and your employer. Your employer might agree with some financial compensation as part of this compromise agreement.
A mutual agreement means that you can’t claim for unfair dismissal. Make sure that you agree with the terms that are set out, and don’t sign until you fully understand them.
The first thing to remember is that your employer cannot dismiss you because you have claimed compensation as a consequence of injuries received due to their negligence. It is also worth remembering that the issue of compensation for unfair dismissal AND personal injury compensation would be treated separately.
In reality, we often see a breakdown in relations between employers and employees who are pursuing perfectly valid compensation claims. There are occasions where the two parties will agree to disagree and go their separate ways with a formal agreement that they will part company. This is very different from constructive dismissal because, in this situation, the employee is not duty-bound to accept any package to terminate their employment.
It is also worth noting that any personal injury compensation paid will most likely come from insurance which all businesses in the UK are legally bound to have in place. These cover issues such as injuries and accidents in the workplace, even if your employer was to eventually stop trading.
In this scenario, if you can prove that there was an active insurance policy in place then no matter the company’s financial/trading status, the insurance company will still be forced to pay out on a successful 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.
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