The question “will I lose my job if I make a claim for an accident at work” is a common question and concern for many clients. After all workplace incidents and accidents can happen to anyone irrespective of the industry or the safety policies in place.
If an accident does happen then employees may well be eligible for injury compensation and lost wages if they 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.
Your Employment Rights and Understanding the Law
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 involves offering a safe and secure working environment, providing sufficient health and safety training and suitable safety 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.
Can Your Employer Really Dismiss You for Bringing an Accident at Work Claim?
- 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.
- This protection 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.
Compensation will be Paid from Your Employer’s Liability Insurance Company
When considering whether to claim it is important to remember that employers are legally obliged to obtain an insurance policy to cover any injury at work via their chosen insurance company.
An employers liability insurance is intended to protect both employers and employees by ensuring there is financial recompense in the event of an accident at work. Therefore an employer’s legal responsibilities should extend to ensuring there is sufficient protection in place if there is an accident at work involving an employer’s negligence and resulting in injury including severe pain and severe symptoms.
This means that your claim will be directed against your employers insurance company, not your employer. It follows that if and when your claim is successful it will be your employer’s insurance company and not your employer who is ultimately responsible for paying you the compensation.
Therefore your employer should not be placed into financial difficulty as a result of you bringing your claim although it may be that if your employer’s insurance company pays you compensation higher insurance premiums may arise.
What if Your Employer’s Company has Ceased Trading?
It is worth noting that if the employer you were working for at the time of the accident has ceased trading or has gone into administration or liquidation then it is still possible to pursue a claim against them.
In these circumstances your claim would be handled by the employer’s insurance company who covered your employer at the time of your accident. They are legally obliged to deal with your claim subject to your employer having complied with their policy terms. As your employer is legally obliged to have liability insurance in place then subject to liability their insurer will be in a position to pay compensation.
If the company you were working for has ceased trading and actually been dissolved or removed from the register of companies then there is a way of reinstating and restoring the company to the register so a claim can be made.
The key here is to give yourself the best chances of succeeding with your accident at work claim by ensuring you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity so that any complications can be addressed head on by your solicitor.
Reporting Your Accident at Work Claim
If you have suffered a workplace accident the results can be devastating in addition to any injuries you may well suffer a loss of income together with other losses and complications which can adversely affect your quality of life.
- If you have been injured then it is so important to formally report the accident by completing the company accident book as soon as possible by highlighting how your employer breached their duty of care towards you and how this resulted in your injury.
- It’s important to note that your employer has a legal duty to report certain types of accidents to the health and safety executive (HSE) in line with the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). This official requirement to report accidents at work includes those injuries that result in death, serious injuries or more than seven consecutive days off work.
- In addition to ensuring that your employer complies with their legal obligations by reporting the accident you will create a record of the incident that can be used to support your accident at work claim. If you fail to report your accident then this could at best make things more complicated and at worst deny you of any prospect of pursuing a successful claim.
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 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.
If against 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 claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination. This would be an entirely separate legal action that would be adjudicated upon by an employment tribunal.
Is Delaying Your Accident at Work Compensation Claim an Option?
Although it is true that an employer cannot legally dismiss an employee simply on the grounds that they are making a personal injury claim some people understandably still worry.
We know from years of experience of dealing with accident at work claims that there are a good number of clients who remain reluctant to make personal injury claims on the basis of possible repercussions in terms of their employment.
As a work around some of these clients use the accident as an impetus to look for alternative employment, especially if they are not enjoying their current position, and once they secure this new employment they resolve to make a claim against their former employer.
Clearly it is important to remember that there are strict time limits which govern the issuing of personal injury claims. It is always best to make the accident at work claim at the earliest opportunity and seek compensation so your position can be protected.
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 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.
- 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 a claim for personal injury 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.)
What if my employer has dismissed me on the basis I have brought a claim for personal injury against them?
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 and provide 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.
Carter & Carter Solicitors
Hear a few words from one of our happy clients
“We helped Mrs Marshall secure compensation for injuries she sustained when shopping at her local garden centre. She said to us: "Very satisfied with the service received – wouldn’t hesitate to use again. Thank you!"
Mrs Martine Ann Marshall from Nottingham