Experiencing an accident at work is often an uncomfortable and confusing time. Besides your injuries, you may be worried about the current situation and finding reliable information can be difficult.
In this post, we aim to cut through the confusion and give you a clear step-by-step guide on what you should do after you’ve been injured or suffered an accident at work.
What are my employer’s responsibilities?
Under the health and safety law, every employer is responsible for providing employees with a safe workplace environment. If an employer fails his duty, he will be liable for prosecution, usually by the Health and Safety Administration or local government authority.
In the event of an accident, you should:
- Get medical support from your family doctor or a hospital, if necessary;
- Report the accident to your injury.
When Can I Make a Claim for An Accident At Work?
You may be eligible for a workplace injury compensation claim if you’ve been hurt as a result of health and safety guidelines not being followed. For example, you may be able to claim if you caused the accident and your injuries were aggravated because of a piece of defective equipment.
You may also be able to claim if a workplace accident made a current condition or injury worse. At this point, your employer is responsible for ensuring you’re safe at work.
In practice, employers have a duty to:
- Provide employees with the right work and personal protective equipment;
- Make sure personnel is properly trained;
- Perform regular risk assessments;
- Manage business activities to reduce health and safety risks;
- Provide teams with a safe working system.
Making a claim against your employer: what’s next?
If you’ve been injured as a result of an accident at work, it may be that you’re worried you will cause friction at work or you will lose your job if you proceed with a personal injury claim against your employer.
Often, these types of claims are covered by the company’s insurance policy, and because accidents do happen, all responsible employers must ensure they are in the right financial odds to take account of all eventualities.
However, if you do find yourself in a situation where you may lose your job or be persecuted for bringing valid work-related injuries to claim, don’t hesitate to seek employment law advice.
Steps you must follow after an accident
1. Focus on your injuries
Although your injury may seem minor at first, you should immediately be treated by your workplace’s first aider. In the worst-case scenario, even a seemingly minor injury can become a lifelong condition without adequate treatment. That means you should get a full assessment of your injuries by a reliable qualified medical practitioner.
When safe to do so, you can consider heading to the nearest hospital. But remember – if you’ve suffered a head injury, you may not be able to make the most inspired decision. Leave someone with enough medical experience to decide whether or not you should move. At this pot, you should focus entirely on your health.
2. Report the accident
If by the time of the accident you were alone in the warehouse, make sure everyone is made aware of the accident. That’s a key aspect if you later decide to file for a personal injury claim or if there is an investigation.
In some cases, an employer can easily influence more suggestible employees to deny the accident happened. That might not be your case, but the simple fact is, if you’re able to collect indisputable evidence that your injury occurred, your manager of their insurance company will be unable to deny that it happened.
What’s more, reporting the accident to your colleagues, then hopefully, they won’t injure themselves just as you have.
Reporting the accident to your manager is necessary because he or she is obliged to report the accident to the Health and Safety Executive (depending on the circumstances).
If you fail to report the accident appropriately, you could be in breach of the employee manual/procedures. Therefore, you should report the accident to your colleagues and manager the sooner you feel able to.
3. Collect photo and video evidence
This is a very important step if you want to make a compensation claim. If you suffered an accident at work and feel the need to defend yourself, there’s no better way than collecting proof to support your case.
In the aftermath of an accident, you should act as your own investigator. As long as there’s no penalty for using your phone, you should take videos and photos of the accident location. Recent evidence of the circumstances and location will be considered invaluable, and it will ensure your employer won’t try to “fix” the accident location in an attempt to impede your claim.
4. Keep an up-to-date list of your symptoms
It’s important that you make a diary entry of all your symptoms, whether that’s on a laptop or your smartphone. You should do that because doctors and nurses normally don’t make a full record of all patient’s symptoms. Therefore, even if you have multiple injuries at the time of the accident, medical professionals only focus on what they consider the most severe at that time.
However, in time, those small injuries can easily flip on their head. They may look seemingly minor in the first few weeks after the accident, but they can turn into a long-term, debilitating condition – maybe the most severe injury in the claim.
If your doctor didn’t record minor injuries at the time of the accident, those responsible for writing the medical report months or years later would find it difficult to attribute the injury to your claim.
Considering that memories fade over time, keeping a video or written diary of your symptoms will help you support the impact of your accident in court.
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