I Had an Accident at Work What Are My Rights?

Laura Broad[1]

Laura Broad

Money Savings Advice I had an accident at work, what are my rights?

If you’ve had an accident at work, you might have some questions.

  • Why did this happen?
  • What happens now?
  • What are my rights?

What Are My Rights if I Got Injured at Work?

You have the right to time off work to recover from an accident, including statutory sick pay. If the accident was not your fault, you have the right to claim compensation for any loss of earnings due to injury.

This is only natural. After all, accidents at work aren’t something we have to deal with on a regular basis.

The good news is that no matter where you work or the job you do, you’re covered by employee rights legislation in the UK.

This guide will go through some frequently asked questions about accidents at work, and what your rights are if you do have one.

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Incidents and Accidents at Work

If you’re considering taking action after an accident at work, it’s important to understand what is meant by an ‘accident’ in the world of health and safety law.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, an accident is “a separate, identifiable, unintended incident which causes physical injury”. If there’s no injury, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a serious incident, but you’re unlikely to get very far with a claim. No harm, no foul.

How Common Are Accidents at Work?

Worldwide, there are over 340 million accident reported every year, according to research carried out by the International Labour Organization.

Specific types of accidents and injuries are more common in different workplace settings. For example, in an office, you’re far more likely to see accidents caused by slips, trips and falls than any other hazard. While tripping over a trailing wire in the office might bruise your ego more than anything else, a more serious injury may put you out of business for longer.

According to HSE statistics, there were nearly 140,000 workplace accidents in 2018/19 that resulted in somebody needing to take more than a week off work. When you add up the damages for injuries, suffering, loss of earnings and any additional expenses that come with a long-term workplace injury, it’s clear that this is a situation that must be taken seriously.

What Are My Rights After an Accident at Work?

Regardless of the level of injury sustained, you have a number of legal rights if you’ve been injured in an accident at work. This is true regardless of the status of your employment - if you’re full-time, part-time, an agency worker or on a zero-hours contract. But what are they?

You Have a Right to Statutory Sick Pay

If you need to take time off work because of your work accident, illness or injury, you still get paid while you’re off work. If you’re off for more than four days in a row, you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay which stands at £95.85 per week at the time of writing. Your employer may pay more if they have a separate sick pay policy, so double-check your contract to see how much you are entitled to.

You Have a Right to Make a Claim if Your Employer Is at Fault

In England and Wales, if you’re wrongfully injured at work, you have a right to seek compensation should you be left out of pocket or in pain or discomfort. The term ‘wrongfully injured’ means your employer failed to adequately carry out their duty of care to you.

By law, employers have a number of health and safety responsibilities, including:

  • Identify workplace risks and limit risk exposure as far as reasonably possible
  • Provide you with any personal protective equipment if risks cannot be removed
  • Regularly inspect and adequately maintain equipment so it is safe to use
  • Provide you with all the training you need to do your job safely
  • Ensure any reports of potential hazards are acted upon in a timely manner

Employers have to put measures in place to keep you safe from illness or injury. If you feel your employer missed the mark in any of the above, you may be able to make a claim.

You Have a Right to Be Properly Compensated

By law, you have the right to not be left out of pocket as a result of an accident at work. This includes making sure you are financially compensated for any physical or psychological pain or suffering the accident caused, any medical expenses you’ve incurred and any financial losses racked up from not being able to work.

What Do I Need to Do if I Have an Accident at Work?

Your workplace might have its own procedure in place for if there are any accidents, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re taking all the steps you can to protect yourself too.

Formally Report and Log the Accident

Report the accident to your manager as soon as possible. Make sure your manager entered accurate accident details into the accident book. If for whatever reason they didn’t make a log of your accident, write your own account of what happened - include details leading up to the accident, where you were, what happened, and what the outcome was. Save two copies - one that you keep yourself, and one that you send to your manager or employer.

See a Medical Professional

Even if your accident didn’t seem serious, make an appointment to speak to your GP as soon as possible after your accident. Not only can they issue any treatment you might need, but it will also add the accident details to your medical records. This is a big plus if you do end up making a claim as it acts as solid evidence in your favour.

Consider Taking Further Action

While not all accidents at work are eligible for compensation, many are. If you feel your employer did not adequately meet their legal obligations to provide you with a safe working environment or protect you from harm, you may have a case against them.

Can I Lose My Job if I Make a Claim Against My Employer?

No. If you think your employer was at fault for your accident at work and you make a personal injury claim for compensation, it’s illegal for them to sack you purely on this basis. If you feel you’ve been unfairly dismissed after an accident at work, seek legal action.

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 Laura Broad

Laura Broad

Laura is a professional content writer and learning designer, passionate about empowering people through straightforward, jargon-free content. When she's not reading or writing about all things personal finance, you can find her in the gym, barbell in hand.

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