Top Five Myths About Injury At Work Claims
Suffering an injury at work can be very upsetting. Depending on the severity of your injury you can find yourself negatively affected for a few days, weeks, or months. Some individuals find themselves suffering life-changing injuries, which can leave them permanently disabled.
As well as the upset of suffering a physical injury, regardless of its severity, there is also the worry that comes with suffering an injury at work, both from your work directly and from the potential financial issues that can result.
There are so many questions to answer that it can easily become overwhelming. Will you be investigated for the accident? Could you be disciplined? Will you have to take time off from work to recover? How long will you be off work for? Will you be paid for the time you have to take off? If you are going to be paid for your time off will it be at your usual rate or will it be SSP? Could you lose your job because of this? What if you can’t get another job at the same level because of the injury? How will you pay your bills, and support your family?
If you find yourself in financial distress because of an injury at work, one solution can be to bring a claim against your employer. However, there are three elements that must be in place to bring a claim successfully, firstly you must have suffered an injury while working (this goes without saying usually), the injury must have been caused by your employer’s negligence (aka not your own fault), and you must have suffered because of the injury.
Bringing a claim has gotten a lot of negative press over the last few years but claiming is not what the media portrays it as. It is not a sure-fire way to make a few quick pennies for something that was your own fault. Instead, claims are designed to put the innocent injured party back into the position they would have been in had the injury never happened. They are not cash grabs, compensation is carefully assessed before it is awarded and will only be awarded dependant on various factors.
There is a large amount of misinformation out there regarding claiming for an injury suffered in the workplace. I have been working in this field for over seven years and am constantly shocked at the myths that perpetuate around this topic. Today I intend to put the most common ones to bed.
If I Bring a Claim I Will Be Fired
First of all, I am not going to say this won’t happen, I do not know your employer, they may be unscrupulous. Most, above board, employers will not fire you because you are bringing a claim, most will simply pass it to their insurers and let them handle it. However, I can confirm that if they fire you because you suffered an injury caused by their negligence then you will likely have the grounds for a case for unfair dismissal. If your employer does not outright fire you but suddenly changes your working life to make it unbearable for you then you may have a claim for constructive dismissal.
However, that being said, it is not illegal for your employer to dismiss you because you are no longer physically capable of carrying out your job, although they do have to follow strict dismissal proceedings.
I Was Assaulted and That Doesn’t Count as an Accident
True assaults are not accidents, but you will still have suffered an injury at work. Whilst at work, we all expect and deserve to be kept safe from dangers and hazards. That includes violence from either customers or fellow staff members (unless you’re employed specifically for that reason e.g.: as a doorman).
The law imposes duties on employers to protect their workers from injury and this includes not only accidents at work but also, in certain circumstances, deliberate acts of violence such as an attack or assault in the workplace. If your employer has failed to protect you properly, which led to the assault or attack, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
However, that being said your employer can only take reasonable steps to protect you, so when considering a claim for assault you must consider what your employer could have done differently and was it reasonable for them not to do so.
If the assault was not your employer’s fault in any way or if you have been assaulted outside of your workplace, for example by a workmate but in a non-work setting, you could consider a CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) claim as opposed to a claim against your employer.
I Was Working Off-Site When I Was Injured So Cannot Claim
Even when you are working off-site, you are still your employer’s responsibility and they have a duty to keep you safe. If the site, you were working on was not safe and this caused your injury then your employer could consider a claim against the site owners to recoup any losses while you claim against them, or you could claim against the site owners directly yourself. Situations like this can sometimes be tricky, and I recommend discussing it with a legal professional as each situation should be weighed on its own merits. However, the fact that you were injured on a third party site does not diminish your right or ability to claim, it just might affect who you claim against.
I Received Sick Pay Whilst Off So Am Not Entitled to Anything More
As said above, the purpose of compensation is to put the injured party back in a position that they would have been in had the injury not occurred. Just because you received your wages, or part of your wages depending on your level of sick pay, does not mean you have not suffered a loss. Part of your compensation will be made up from your pain suffering and loss of amenity until you healed.
That being said, sick pay will have an effect on your compensation amount. You can claim for loss of earnings when injured, so if you receive sick pay you will not have suffered such a severe financial loss and will not need to be recouped for this. In most cases, if you need time off because of an injury at work, you’ll only have the right to Statutory Sick Pay. Your employer may have a scheme for paying more for time off caused by accidents or may decide to pay extra depending on what has happened.
I Don’t Work There Anymore So Cannot Claim
This is not the case, as long as you bring your claim within three years of your injury it does not matter that you do not work for that employer anymore.
In conclusion, you should now have an understanding of the five most common myths about bringing an accident at work. You cannot legally be fired just for bringing a claim, though you might be dismissed if you are physically unable to perform your job. You can, in certain situations, claim against your employer if you were assaulted in the workplace, although not if you were assaulted by a workmate outside of work. You can claim if you were injured on a third party site although it could be against the third party owner or your employer. You can still claim if you received sick pay but you can only recover financial losses that you have actually suffered aka you cannot claim for earnings that you received. Lastly, you can still claim against an employer if you no longer work for them, but you must still follow standard personal injury limitation rules and claim within three years of your injury.