There are certain things you must do following an accident at work. This includes seeking immediate medical advice, recording the incident in your company’s accident handbook, and speaking to a specialist personal injury solicitor.
Personal injury solicitors London
If you have been injured at work, please contact our personal injury solicitors for free legal advice. We can tell you what to do next and can advise whether you have grounds for a compensation claim. We act on behalf of clients across the country and have offices in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Huddersfield and Dewsbury.
What should you do after an injury at work?
If you suffer an injury while carrying out your work duties, there are certain steps you should take. These not only safeguard your health but also pave the way for a successful compensation claim.
1. Get medical attention
Be sure to get proper medical care after the accident. Your wellbeing comes first. Your employer is obliged to have a first-aid kit on-site and a designated first aider. This person should provide you with medical attention, or call an ambulance if your injuries are serious. Even if you think your injuries are minor, we recommend that you visit your GP. Adrenaline can mask the true extent of your injuries, and even minor cuts can become infected if they are not dressed properly.
Seeing a doctor will also provide a link between your work accident and your injury. This can be useful, if and when you do make a claim. For example, imagine you suffer whiplash in a work-related driving accident on 1 June. If you attend A&E complaining of a sore neck on 1 June –and you explain that you were involved in a collision at work that very day –this will be recorded in your medical notes. This supports the claim that your injuries were caused by your work accident. But if you attend A&E weeks later, an unscrupulous employer may argue that you sustained your injuries elsewhere.
Of course, making a compensation claim might not be at the front of your mind. However, your health should be, and this is reason enough to get immediate medical attention.
2. Record your accident
When you are able, the next step is to tell your manager about the accident and ask them to record it in the company’s accident handbook.
Employers are supposed to have an accident handbook, although you might not realise it until you actually sustain a workplace injury. Ask your manager to record details such as:
- The date and location of the accident
- The circumstances surrounding the accident and how it happened
- The names of anyone else involved in the accident
- The names of anyone who witnessed the accident
- The injuries you sustained
Be sure to check what has been written in the handbook and amend the entry if there are any errors or omissions.
You may face a situation in which your employer does not have an accident handbook, or refuses to record the accident. Unfortunately, this does happen, as some employers are keen to keep a clean record. If so, send your manager or boss an email, setting out the details of your accident. Keep any emails that are sent back in response. This will provide a paperchain that can be used as evidence later down the line if required.
You could also report your work-related injury to your trade union representative and/or your employer’s health and safety representative (if applicable).
3. Check whether a RIDDOR report is needed
Sometimes, an employer must also report an accident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This is required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013. A RIDDOR report is needed if a work-related accident causes:
- A death
- Fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
- Permeant loss of sight or reduction in sight
- Crushing injuries to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs
- Serious burns which cover more than 10% of the body or cause significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
- Any scalping requiring hospital treatment
- Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
- Injuries arising from working in an enclosed space which leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness, or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
- An employer to have seven consecutive days or more off work
If an employer cannot return to work for three consecutive days because of their accident, it must be recorded in the company’s accident book. However, it does not have to be reported to the HSE unless an employer is incapacitated for seven or more consecutive days, or leads to death or injury as listed above.
If a RIDDOR report is needed following your workplace accident, email your manager or boss to ask whether they have complied with this requirement.
4. Take photos and gather evidence
Meanwhile, start to gather evidence. This should work to prove that your accident occurred at work and that your employer is to blame.
The most compelling evidence is video footage of the accident. CCTV tapes are often wiped on a regular basis, so make an early request to secure the footage. If your workplace does not have CCTV, you can always take photos of the scene of the accident, along with any evidence pertaining to the incident. This might include photos of broken machinery or an uneven floor. You should also collate anything else that proves your employer was negligent. For instance, perhaps you raised concerns about health and safety in the workplace in an email? If so, this shows that pre-existing issues were identified but that no action was taken.
If your health means that you cannot return to work to compile this evidence, ask a friendly co-worker to help you. He or she can take photos on your behalf before the evidence disappears.
5. Gather witness details
Speaking of co-workers, you should also contact anyone who saw the accident happen. Ask them whether they would be willing to act as a witness, and if so, write down their names and contact details.
Your colleagues may be reluctant to support you, as it means admitting that your employer was negligent. However, they cannot be penalised for supporting you during your claim, so long as they are telling the truth.
6. Keep a diary
It is also a good idea to write down your own account of the accident. Memories can fade over time and you may forget important details. Any inconsistencies in your story may work against you, so it is better to set out exactly what you remember shortly after the incident.
In addition, write down the injuries you sustained after the accident. Continue to record your symptoms in a diary or journal, be it on a daily or weekly basis. This will show the progression of your recovery. You can produce this record in the future, providing a useful insight as to the ways in which your accident has impacted your life.
7. Record your financial losses
If your work injury causes you to incur any kind of financial loss or expense, be sure to record these losses and keep any receipts.
If you make a successful work accident claim, you can recover your past financial losses. Payslips will show how your earnings have been affected. Receipts for medical equipment, treatment or medication can also be given to your solicitor, allowing you to recoup your losses.
Your loved ones may have cared for you during your recovery. You can actually claim compensation for the cost of care, even if no money exchanged hands. With this in mind, write down how often your loved ones looked after you. Also record any whether they completed tasks that you would normally do, such as gardening, DIY, cooking and cleaning.
8. Speak to a personal injury solicitor
Next, speak to a personal injury solicitor. This should be a specialist personal injury solicitor who is registered with the Law Society.
Most personal injury solicitors offer a free initial enquiry –including Ashmans Solicitors. This gives you the chance to speak to a professional about your options. A solicitor can say whether you have grounds to make a work accident claim, if you want to. You do not have to pursue a compensation claim, even if you have an excellent prospect of success –the choice is entirely yours.
You are also free to choose your own personal injury solicitor. Your trade union or employer may try to pressure you into a particular firm of lawyers. However, you do not have to go with their suggestion.
9. Continue to seek medical treatment
Regardless of whether you decide to pursue a compensation claim, you should continue to seek medical treatment for your injuries. This is, of course, paramount for your health. It will also show that your injuries are continuing to affect your life and have not resolved. The latter point will be useful if you do make a claim.
10. Do not admit fault
Finally, do not admit fault for the accident, if you do not think you are to blame. Sadly, employers sometimes try to pin the blame on their employees. They are occasions when employees are even pressured into admitting fault, even though their employer was clearly negligent. If this happens to you, stand your ground –do not apologise or suggest that you were somehow in the wrong.
Contact our personal injury solicitors
These steps will put you in good stead, should you decide to pursue a work accident claim. If you want to know more, please contact our personal injury solicitors Leeds for a free initial enquiry. We act for injured employees across England and Wales, and run most claims on a no win no fee basis.
Call us now on 0333 009 6275. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.