If you are injured due to an accident at work, or suffer an illness because of your workplace, you may wonder whether you can be dismissed for bringing a personal injury claim for your injuries.
However the simple answer to this question is no, you cannot get sacked for making a claim. In any situation where somebody breaches their duty of care to another person, resulting in injury or illness, the injured party is entitled to seek compensation and the employer-employee relationship is no different.
If you are unfortunate enough to sustain an injury whilst in the course of your work and the accident was caused by the negligence of your employer, you may be considering pursuing a claim for personal injury. This will not only compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured but also for any financial losses you have sustained as a result.
You may however be concerned about the risk of losing your job as a result of making an injury at work claim, or creating such bad relations with your employers that you are forced to hand in your resignation.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees'. In practical terms this means that your employer must:
If your employer fails to carry out their duty of care and, as a result, you suffer injury or illness during the course of your work you are entitled to make a claim against them for personal injury compensation.
For further information on Health and Safety regulation in the workplace please visit www.hse.gov.uk.
Legally you cannot be dismissed after an accident at work simply because you have made, or are thinking about making a personal injury at work claim. If your employer attempts to do so then you are likely to be able to make a successful claim for unfair dismissal. Similarly if the relationship between yourself and your employer starts to breakdown, and they begin to make your working life unbearable, simply because you have made a claim against them you may feel that you have no option but to hand in your resignation. In this case you would have a strong case for pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal.
All accidents at work that result in an injury should be recorded in your employer's 'Accident Report Book', therefore your employer will already have knowledge of the accident prior to a claim being made. The 'Accident Report Book' provides a record of accidents that have happened and any injuries sustained so that should you be unfortunate enough to require time off work or wish to pursue a claim for compensation, your employer and your solicitors are able to refer back to the accident and the circumstances surrounding the injury. The 'Accident Report Book' also assists your employer by identifying any risks or hazards that need addressing to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Your employer would be notified of any claim brought against them initially by your solicitor or via their own insurance company. Your employer's insurance company will then work with your employer to investigate the claim and gather the relevant documentation to enable them to come to a decision in relation to liability.
Your employers are required to have insurance cover in place to cover the cost of any potential claims for compensation, plus legal fees which arise from an employee bringing a claim against their employer for personal injury.
Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (known as RIDDOR), your employer must report any serious work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) is part of the Department of Work and Pensions, any claim made in relation to personal injury must be reported to the DWP. If your case is successful your employer's insurance company will be required to refund any benefits you have received as a direct result of the accident.
All employers are legally required to have an insurance policy in place to cover them in the case of such claims, this means that they will not be paying your compensation out of any company profit. Fortunately any reputable and sensible employer will recognise that your claim against them is not personal; you are simply exercising your right to seek compensation which will help to restore your pre-accident state of health and reimburse any financial losses you have sustained. Usually the insurance company will deal with the claim on behalf of your employer, so your employer will not be conducting the claim themselves.
If the company you were employed with at the time of your accident is no longer trading it is still possible for a claim to be made. If the company has been dissolved or removed from the Register of Companies, an application can be made for the company to be restored to the register to enable a claim to be made.
If you have been injured at work it would be advisable to discuss your concerns, and your potential claim, with an experienced personal injury solicitor who specialises in work accident claims. Although you have three years from the date of the accident in which to bring a claim it is recommended to seek advice as soon as possible after the event.