Can I be Sacked for Having an Accident at Work?

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Home > Claiming Compensation > Personal Injury > Accident at Work Claims > Can I be Sacked for Having an Accident at Work?

The question “Can I be sacked for having an Acident at Work” is a common one and a concern for many clients. After all workplace incidents and accidents can happen to anyone irrespective of the industry or the safety policies in place.

In fact, did you know over 600,000 workers in the UK  were injured at work in 2021/22?

If you’ve been injured at work it’s crucial for you to know your rights and what you can do if you get injured.

If you’ve suffered an accident or other work related injuries then you may well be eligible for injury compensation and lost wages if you bring an accident at work claim.

It is not surprising that some people worry about the possible repercussions of making an accident at work claim and even whether it could result in them being dismissed from their employment.

In this article we discuss and explore all aspects of this concern in the hope of explaining the position and helping accident at work victims decide whether they should make a claim without any fear of repercussions.

We’ll look into whether an employer can sack someone simply for having an accident, the steps to report it, and just how the compensation  process works.


Understanding Your Rights in the UK

Before we go any further in terms of job security it’s important to highlight the law governing workplace accidents and compensation claims.

It’s important to note that employer’s legal responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 place them under a legal duty to ensure the health and safety and overall welfare of their employees. This includes preventing injuries resulting from the employer’s negligence.

This involves offering a safe, healthy and secure working environment, providing sufficient health and safety training and suitable safety and personal protective equipment. So for example your employer must train you fully in health and safety training and provide all necessary personal protective equipment so that you can perform the various work related tasks without the risk of illness or accidental injury.

The law also provides legal safeguards against unfair dismissal and it’s important for you to be aware of these to protect your employment status as well as your sense of well being.


So…….”Can I be sacked for having an Accident at Work?”

  • The bottom line is your employer is under a legal duty to ensure the appropriate measures are implemented so as to keep you safe from injury at work.
  • If the employer fails to comply with the legislation and implement appropriate measures and as a result the employee is injured they may well be entitled to bring a compensation claim.
  • It is also important to note that under UK law UK employees have the ability to make a claim for compensation without needing to worry about being dismissed or treated unfairly by the employer. Employers can’t simply fire an employee for having an accident unless there is a very good reason. The employer would have to be able to justify their decision on the grounds of legal regulations demonstrating that the employees actions were grossly negligent and clearly violated safety protocols.
  • Dismissals related to health and safety concerns are automatically considered unfair under UK law.
  • Protection for employees in this context is specifically provided under the Employment Rights Act 1996 which outlaws the practice of an employer dismissing an employee on the grounds that they have made a claim for compensation.
  • Interestingly this protection is an absolute one and applies irrespective of the size of the company and indeed in relation to how long the employee has been there for.
  • If an employee believes they have been treated unfairly simply as a result of making a claim they have the right to pursue legal action against the employer.

What to do if an accident occurs in the workplace

If you have suffered a workplace injury, the results can be devastating. In addition to any physical or psychological injuries, you may well suffer a loss of income together with other financial losses, and complications which can adversely affect your quality of life.

Of course once your accident has been formally reported in the company accident book this will facilitate you being in a position to claim any available benefits including statutory sick pay or contractual sick pay.


The Role of Your Employer

If you decide to make a personal injury claim arising out of the workplace accident, then your employer will be required to look into the incident and provide information in relation to their health and safety rules and procedures.

This will enable the parties to establish what exactly went wrong and whether the employer is in any way at fault for the accident and breached their legal obligations under the relevant legislation such as the health and safety at work act 1974.

If ultimately your employer is found to be at fault then they may be liable to compensate you provided the liability breach actually resulted in your injuries. This of course does not mean that you will lose your job – as we’ve already mentioned it’s specifically against the law for an employer to sack an employee on the grounds that they have brought a compensation claim.

An employer might be in a position to sack an individual if the accident was caused by your gross misconduct or gross negligence for example by being under the influence or flagrantly breaching safety rules. Either way your employer must still ensure they follow a fair process to dismiss you and this will mean giving you the opportunity to explain yourself.

It’s also true that if your injuries are so serious that you are unable to return to work on medical grounds you could ultimately be dismissed on the grounds of medical incapacity.

However, if in contravention of the legislation your employer does proceed to terminate your employment or treat you unfairly because of your accident at work claim then you may be in a position to bring a further claim against your employer for unfair dismissal or discrimination. This would be an entirely separate legal action that would be adjudicated upon by an employment tribunal.


Rely on Your Solicitor to Help You

There’s no doubt that if you are considering making a claim for compensation following a workplace accident it is recommended you appoint a specialist personal injury solicitor to help you navigate the claim.

  • A solicitor will be in a position to help guide you through the whole process and ensure that you have the best prospects of succeeding with your claim.
  • Many solicitors offer free legal advice and support for personal injury claims.
  • Your solicitor will also be able to advise you in relation to the quantification of your claim and make sure that you recover all the necessary heads of damage and loss that you are entitled to.
  • Your solicitor will be able to takeover running all aspects of making a claim so this will take leave the pressure off you leaving you to concentrate on getting any treatment that you need to facilitate your recovery.
  • If you are making a claim for an injury at work then your chosen no win no fee solicitor should offer a no obligation consultation.
  • Legal fees need to be discussed so that you understand the terms of any conditional fee agreement and success fee.
  • Your solicitor should explain the claims process so that you are confident about what will happen with your work injury claim.

Frequently Asked Questions…………

 

Can my employer legally dismiss me for making a claim for personal injury against them?

As indicated above, an employer is not able to legally dismiss an employee on the grounds that the employee is making personal injury claims against them. If your employer has breached their duty towards you and as a result you suffered injuries then you have the legal right to seek compensation. (Of course if the dismissal is unrelated to the claim for injury and is for a legitimate reason then you may well be legally dismissed.)


Can I be sacked for having an accident at work UK?

Don’t delay in seeking immediate legal advice from an employment lawyer who will be in a position to provide advice on your legal rights and the next steps to be taken. The law gives protection in circumstances such as these from unfair and constructive dismissal and your employer simply cannot legally terminate your contract on the basis you have made a valid claim for your injury at work.


If I have been dismissed for making a injury claim am I able to claim compensation for an unfair dismissal claim?

If you are able to prove that a substantial reason for the dismissal was solely on the grounds of you bringing a claim for a work related injury then you may be able to claim compensation for unfair or constructive dismissal. Seek immediate advice from an employment lawyer so your claim can be assessed and if necessary you can take legal proceedings to pursue an unfair dismissal claim. and so any action can be taken in accordance with the strict prevailing time limits and the latest employment law.


Is my employer allowed to discriminate against me on the basis I am bringing a claim for personal injury?

Not at all – If your employer discriminates against you for making a accident at work claim this would no doubt be considered unlawful and you may well have a remedy in law against your employer. Again seek immediate legal advice from an employment solicitor if this happens to you.


What evidence will I require to demonstrate my dismissal was in fact related to me bringing a claim for personal injury?

You will need to be able to provide some sort of proof in the form of emails or witness statements as evidence to confirm that the dismissal arose out of your decision to bring an accident at work claim. We suspect this would not be an easy task and you ought to seek legal advice from an employment lawyer so that you can discuss what sort of evidence would be required to succeed with the employment claim.


Could I lose my job if I am on sick leave?

It is possible for your employer to dismiss you if you are on sick leave but in practice any dismissal must be equitable and cannot be based on discriminatory grounds or in retaliation for you making a compensation claim. If you feel that you have been unfairly treated and unfairly dismissed while on sick leave then you should seek legal advice straight away.


Is my employer able to make me a settlement offer so that I won’t sue them?

It is possible for your employer to seek to make an offer in settlement of any injury at work compensation claim and with a view to preventing you from continuing with your accident at work claim. However it is crucial that you seek and obtain legal advice before accepting any offer so that your solicitor can advise you in relation to the merits or otherwise of the proposed compensation and terms.


Contact us in Confidence to discuss Your accident at Work Claim

As solicitors that specialise in accidents at work claims we recognise that prospective clients may want to contact us to seek guidance, a free consultation and support in relation to their legal rights and options following an accident in the workplace.

It is our responsibility to listen to your concerns and assess the details of your potential claim, your medical records and all other details with a view to providing you with honest and knowledgeable advice.

We understand having specialised in personal injury for 30 years or so the physical and emotional as well as financial toll that accidents at work can have on our clients and their families.

We are committed to working diligently for our clients to achieve the best possible outcome.


What is the first thing that must be done when a worker is injured?

The first and immediate priority is to provide medical attention and this will involve the administering of basic first aid by any first aider who is on hand. Meanwhile, if the injury is serious or life threatening the ambulance service needs to be contacted without delay.


Do all workplace accidents need to be reported?

Any injury sustained at work should always be recorded in the employer’s accident book but only certain types of injury are required to be reported to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). This includes injuires causing death and serious injuries as well as any injuries which lead to the employee having to take sick leave for more than 7 consecutive days. It’s also necessary to inform the HSE if injuries are sustained by non-workers, that is members of the public.


What is classed as an injury at work?

Any injury that occurs whilst an employee is performing their duties will be classified as an “injury at work”. So this covers every location where trade or business is carried out and any activity that results in injury in this context from tripping over loose cables to suffering an electric shock or suffering a back injury from heavy lifting.


How long does it take to get paid after a settlement UK?

This all depends upon how efficent the insurer is when processing the compensation payments to be made. In general terms the compensation will be paid by the insurer within a period of between 14 and 21 days.