Accidents at
Work FAQ



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Accidents at Work FAQ

Many of our clients have similar concerns and questions regarding Personal Injury Claims. We've used our years of experience to answer many of the common queries below.

Who can claim for an Accident at Work?

All workers are entitled to work in an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Employers have a duty to look after the health and safety of their employees at work including casual workers, agency workers, and those that are self-employed.

Under UK law you may be considered an employee, giving you the same rights as other workers.

What are the time limits for making a claim?

As a general rule to make a claim for personal injury compensation in England, Wales and Scotland, you have 3 years from the date of the accident to pursue a claim. If the claim is not settled or Court Proceedings issued by the 3rd anniversary then your claim may be lost forever, or statute barred (out of time). There are, however, certain exceptions to this:

  • In England and Wales, if the injured party is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident the 3 year time limit does not start running until they reach the age of 18 .
  • If the person does not have the mental capacity either before or as a result of the accident, the 3 year time limit does not begin to run until they regain the capacity to bring a claim. Issues regarding capacity are complicated and we would be happy to speak to you in detail on this point.
  • There are certain types of cases where a claimant may not be aware that they have suffered an illness or injury until some period of time later. For example, it may take more than 3 years for any symptoms to appear. In those types of situations, the time limit does not start to run until the date you are aware (or should have been aware) you have sustained an injury, such as being told about it by your doctor. As this is a complex subject, it is best to seek professional advice from your solicitor.
  • If your case involves a claim under the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) Untraced Drivers Agreement, then you need to have the completed application form with the MIB by the third anniversary of the accident. However if your claim includes a claim for compensation for damage to property, then the application needs to be with the MIB within 9 months of the date of the accident, whether or not the claim includes personal injury as well.
  • Injuries sustained as a result of a criminal act and where a claim is made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICA claims), then a limitation period of 2 years applies. The same exceptions apply in relation to those under the age of 18 at the time of the injury and those lacking capacity. There may also be other exceptions where the consequence of the assault is not discovered until after the 2 year period has expired.
  • Accidents that occur abroad will be the subject of a variety of different time limits, which can be as short as a year. The sooner you contact us the better, so we can identify the appropriate time limit and give you the best chance of successfully pursuing your claim.

How can claiming for compensation help me?

Suffering an injury at work can have serious consequences for you and your family, with many people having to survive on limited sick pay following an accident. Pursuing a claim will not only ensure that you are properly compensated for your injury, but will mean that you are reimbursed for any losses and expenses that you have incurred. This includes any lost earnings or future loss of earnings, as well as the cost of medical treatment and travelling to appointments.

Claiming compensation will also give you access to the best rehabilitation and treatment providers to maximise your recovery following the accident. The NHS provides excellent care at the acute stage following an injury, but long term rehabilitation can be lacking. Making a successful claim for compensation will mean funding is made available for a range of expert input where appropriate.

What if I can’t return to work after my accident?

Financial compensation will aim to compensate you for any loss of earnings, if you are unable to return to your previous employment as a result of your injuries. However our specialist rehabilitation can also assist you with finding new employment after a period away from work or help find a way of retraining for a new career. Our employment law team are available to discuss options should you have any problems with your employment.

If you are suffering financially as a result of the accident, we may be able to secure an interim payment from the insurer of the third party. An interim payment is an advance payment of part of your damages which the offender’s side may be liable to pay. These interim payments can fund rehabilitation recommendations and also aim to ensure that you avoid any financial hardship as a result of the accident.

If an interim payment cannot be made, the NewLaw welfare and rehabilitation team can put you in contact with various agencies (such as unions or charities) to assist you with meeting your financial needs.

How do I arrange for rehabilitation?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, NewLaw’s specialist Welfare and Rehabilitation team will meet with you, to give you and your family information and emotional support following a serious accident. If you required a hospital admission due to the accident, a member of the our welfare team can visit you at the hospital, liaise with hospital staff to facilitate a safe and appropriate discharge from hospital, and ensure that you will have access to all the services that may be of assistance to you from the NHS and your local authority.

At NewLaw we are committed to securing the best outcome for each of our clients by working with all the professionals involved to maximise the impact of early intervention. Our team will arrange for a needs assessment to be carried out as soon as possible by a qualified individual. They will recommend a programme of rehabilitation, which will cover the relevant areas such as:

  • Physiotherapy;
  • Hydrotherapy;
  • psychological input;
  • speech and language therapy;
  • case management;
  • bladder, bowel & skin management in spinal cord injury cases;
  • occupational therapy, e.g. assessment of accommodation and equipment needs.

Can I arrange for additional help?

We understand that you may need specialist care following an accident, therefore depending on the circumstances of your claim for compensation, we can put in place a comprehensive rehabilitation plan suitable for your individual needs.

We will start by discussing with you what assistance you may need; we can then arrange for an experienced and knowledgeable specialist practitioner (a case manager) to visit with you to discuss. Our case manager can also recommend practical support and assistance; for example, it may be that following the accident that you may need assistance with household tasks. Also, if you are unable to drive as a result of your injuries, the case manager may suggest that a taxi account be set up in order to ensure that you can still get around and attend appointments.

NewLaw’s team of specialists, where appropriate will then be appointed to oversee the implementation of the case plan, ensuring that appropriate local agents are all put in place and will ensure the smooth running of a care plan for you. Your needs will often change over time and the case manager will keep your requirements under review and ensure that you are getting the best help possible.

Defective Machinery Claims

What is Defective Work Equipment?

Employers are required to take certain steps in relation to the health and safety of their employees if they provide equipment for use at work, or have control of the use of equipment. In summary, employers should ensure that the work equipment provided is:

  • suitable for use and for the purpose and conditions in which it is to be used;
  • maintained in good working order and is in safe condition for use;
  • inspected regularly to ensure that the equipment is and continues to be safe for use;
  • withdrawn from use if faulty or defective, until it has been repaired or replaced.

In addition, employers should ensure that employees are fully trained in how to use the equipment, and are made aware of any potential risks to their health and safety. Measures must be taken to protect against dangerous parts and protective personal equipment provided if needed.

Any work equipment that falls foul of these rules could result in a personal injury ranging from minor cuts and bruises to serious fractures and even amputations, for which your employer could be liable.

Slips and Trips Claims

What are Slips and Trips in the Workplace?

Slips or trips in the workplace are unfortunately extremely common. Many slips and trips in the workplace are caused by:

  • unsuitable flooring;
  • failing to provide safety measures, such as handrails or stair grip treads;
  • wet surfaces;
  • tripping hazards.

Employers have to abide by a set of health and safety laws and regulations to control the risk of injury to their employees. These regulations give a wide definition of the workplace, including common parts of shared buildings, private roads and paths, industrial estates, business parks, offices and even temporary work sites. Providing that the premises are non-domestic, your workplace is likely to be covered.

The rules do not just apply to employees in their permanent place of work, but also casual workers, agency workers, and those that are self-employed can be affected.

Working at Height Claims

What is classed as a Working at Height accident?

Falls from height are one of the most common types of accidents at work and can often result in serious injuries. An accident can occur in almost any type of workplace and can include falls:

  • from ladders;
  • from machinery;
  • through or from roofs;
  • from scaffolding;
  • from open edges;
  • through holes;
  • through or from fragile surfaces;
  • being struck by a falling object or material.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 are intended to protect people that have to work at height, and set down a strict set of guidelines that employers are required to comply with. These Regulations confirm that working at height accidents can happen in any place, at or below ground level, including obtaining access to or egress from such a location in the workplace. The exception is a staircase in a permanent place of work, as these accidents are covered by a different set of rules.

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