If you have been unfortunate enough to have been involved in an accident at work that was not your fault, you really need to get accident claim advice from an expert lawyer. Most accident compensation solicitors are members of the Solicitors Regulation aAuthority panel of personal injury experts and most offer free initial legal advice if you are considering making a claim for compensation. Almost all UK solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis and do not deduct anything from the damages. By calling a UK solicitor you are not generally placing yourself under any obligation to eventually use their services – most are happy to provide free legal advice.
If you have suffered injury in an accident you should ensure that you protect your legal rights to compensation by keeping a detailed record of the incident. You can make your own personal accident claim form which should be a document that records all the details, or a solicitor can provide you with a check list of relevant items.
Although it is best to get in touch with an accident claim lawyer as soon as possible, in reality this can often be impossible. You have more pressing matters to worry about such as health issues or how to cope with the new problems that have arisen, while maintaining some sort of normality in life. The law also recognises this potential time problem and as such has allowed a three year period after an accident within which you may claim compensation for what happened. This gives you the time to sort things out before taking any action. However, as with most things in life, it is still a case of ‘the sooner the better’.
Before you ask an accident compensation solicitor for claim advice there are some things you can do to help protect your legal right to compensation. The following information will need to be recorded by you in your personal injury accident statement to be handed to your solicitor:-
Where did the accident take place? Record the exact location of your accident including building, street and junction names together with photographs of the locality.
When did the accident take place? The date and exact time when your accident took place is required.
What happened? A detailed and comprehensive explanation in writing of the sequence of events which led to your accident
Was it your fault?
Were there any witnesses? Obtain the names, addresses, vehicle and insurance details of anyone else involved in your accident
Do you remember the series of events which led up to the accident?
Did you take, or can you take, any photographs of the location or incident?
Obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident
There is copious legislation in force emanating from both the UK parliament and the EC that protect an employee’s right to health and safety at work which if breached will give an employee the right to issue legal proceedings for compensation for personal injury in an accident at work claim. Some of the legislation is specific to certain industries however most of the legislation is of a general nature and will cover all places of work in almost every industry. Some of the most important general statutory provisions are as follows: –
Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992
These regulations underline the legal responsibility of an employer to guarantee that the place of work, including all the tools, equipment and systems of work that are used are safe and do not place employees at unacceptable risk. Any employee injured as a result of an employer failing to comply with these regulations can take legal action for compensation in an accident at work claim.
The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992
These regulations over numerous aspects of safety breach of which causing injury can give rise to an accident at work claim. As general examples an employee must not be exposed to dangerous chemical fumes or allowed to operate potentially dangerous machinery without proper training or protective safety gear. In addition, an employer is also bound, by law, to conduct regular inspections and repairs in order to keep machinery in safe working order. Employers are also required to pay attention to the floors and traffic routes of their factories and other places of business including offices and canteens. There must be adequate drainage facilities to prevent pools of water that could lead to slips and falls. Other concerns are sudden slopes or structural flaws, such as a rickety staircase or faulty traffic routes. Under these regulations employers must also look at workplace temperature and whether there are enough facilities and provisions for the workers’ comfort. This includes food facilities, a place for rest, sanitary conveniences and adequate space. Health and Safety training workshops must also be conducted, and special guidelines given for minors (those 18 years old or below) and pregnant women.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
These provisions make it the responsibility of the employer to identify unacceptable risk to the safety of employees and to remedy or prevent that potential risk. Those organisations that employ five or more people must have a recorded risk assessment schedule. The responsibility of the employer increases with the identified degree of risk.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
Requires employers to ensure that any equipment is properly used according to its intended purpose and that employees are trained in its use. Under these regulations machines must also have emergency stop buttons, fixed guards, safety rails and warning labels.
One of the most important items in a work accident compensation claim relates to financing a potential claim. Most lawyers operate the no win no fee scheme which has many variations from one firm of solicitors to another. A client paying for medical reports, court fees and other expenses during a claim should never be necessary however some firms of solicitors do expect them to be paid by the client as the claim proceeds.
Accident Compensation Solicitors divide compensation into two main types which are special damages and general damages. Special damages cover those items that can be calculated with a degree of precision and include wages losses and general expenses whereas general damages cover items that must be assessed including pain and suffering for personal injury. If you are considering making a claim for compensation its important that you first get qualified no nonsense accident claim information and an accurate estimate of damages at an early stage.