What you Need for an Accident at Work Compensation Claim

Businessman slipping on wet office floor

If you have been injured in an accident in the workplace that was caused by the negligence of your employer, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation. However, many people do not claim the compensation they deserve, and sometimes this is down to uncertainty about the claims process, what it involves, and what exactly is needed to make a valid and successful claim.

Legal Assistance

Of course, making a work accident claim will require professional legal assistance. There are many firms which specialise in making personal injury claims generally and in claiming compensation for accidents in the workplace specifically, and they will offer in-depth expertise and valuable assistance throughout the claims process. The help of a solicitor is virtually essential for making a compensation claim. Even if it were not strictly necessary, however, hiring a solicitor would probably still be advisable as having the help and support of a specialist as well as having somebody else to handle the paperwork and technicalities of the process is invaluable for many claimants.

Information

From the earliest stages of making a claim, you will at a minimum need some basic information about the accident. This should ideally include when and where the accident took place, and the injuries that you sustained as a result of it. You should also be able to explain to your solicitor why you feel your employer (or, in some cases, a specific superior or co-worker) was responsible for the accident. In order for this party – the defendant – to be legally responsible, they must have been negligent in some way and not taken all necessary or reasonable steps to protect your safety.

Documents and Evidence

You will also need to have certain documents and evidence to support your case – and other documents, while not necessary, could be very useful. Your solicitor will outline to you want kind of evidence and documentation is necessary when you begin your claim, but it can be useful to have some idea ahead of time so you can begin preparations sooner. Initially, you will need to present proof of your identity to your solicitor, as well as documents relating to any relevant insurance policies. At later stages, you may have to provide evidence of the nature and extent of your injuries such as photographs or medical documents. You may also have to present evidence relating to the accident itself such as photographs of the location, any records of the accident or reports that were made, and written statements from witnesses. Many of these are documents you are unlikely top have at the initial stage but can set about obtaining as your claim progresses.

Why look to hire a work injury lawyer?

Injuries occurring in the workplace are quite common and the most common form of compensation to be offered is the employer’s compensation insurance for workers. However, there are several other situations where individuals can also sue for the damages caused by injuries. These include personal injuries due to defective products, injuries caused by chemicals or toxic substances, injuries caused by intentional conduct of employers and other severe and long term disabling injuries caused by either the employer’s negligence or due to third parties. Across all such cases, it becomes possible to file a lawsuit for personal injury so as to win settlement for damages in the court of law.

While workers’ compensation insurance can offer some benefits to injured individuals, by and large, these benefits are small and do not account for the suffering and pain involved. Furthermore, by offering these benefits, employers try and walk away from damages caused by providing poor safety conditions for work. As such, it is important for workers to realize their rights and claim for personal injuries, over and above the simple compensation benefits. In case any worker sustains a personal injury at work, it is highly recommended to make use of the services of a personal injury lawyer.

It must be kept in mind that filing a lawsuit for personal injuries is a complex legal procedure, involving a lot of technicalities. It is always a good idea to seek the help of a seasoned law firm in dealing with personal injury lawsuits so as to get by the rules and norms and to assure that claims are successfully resolved.

Hiring an attorney is something which needs to be done with some amount of care. Before rushing into a hire, it is important to check if the lawyer has necessary and relevant experience in the field of personal injury lawsuits and also if the lawyer has been successful in resolving claims in the past. There are many different types of personal injuries that can occur to an individual and it is important that the lawyer is able to accurately evaluate the situation and should also understand in detail the norms and rules of tort law. Personal injury lawyers also need to understand and abide by legal ethics and codes of professional conduct as recognized by the court of law. The best ways to find an expert work injury lawyer is to check up on public directory listings or to resort to word of mouth recommendations.

Personal injuries can range from severe injuries to long term and disabling injuries. In order that the best interests of suffering individuals are served, it is always a good idea to make use of a personal injury lawyer. While some amount of money will need to be spent in terms of lawyer fees, it is still well worth the money hiring an expert attorney, as an expert will almost certainly ensure that the best possible settlement is reached and that claims are resolved successfully.

Claims for Unfair Dismissal Soar due to Impending Law Reform

In recent years claims for unfair dismissal have risen significantly, and this trend has seen a steep rise in numbers recently – up to a 44% rise.  Employees who think they have been the victims of unfair dismissal now rush to bring in their claims before new Government measures, which aim to make it easier to dismiss workers who have been underperforming, come into force. The Tribunal Service has shown statistics that state in the quarter to September 2012 there was 15,300 claims compared to 10,600 in the three months to June.

The proposal that will take effect soon will mean that anyone wishing to bring a claim under unfair dismissal will have to pay a £250.00 fee to make a claim, plus a further £950.00 if the claim was to go to court.  Prior to this proposal taking effect, it was free to make a claim.

One other proposal is that will see successful claims be capped at one years’ salary or roughly £74,200, whichever is lower in terms of money.

These are all parts of government planned legislation to make it more difficult for unhappy workers to bring the claims against employers in an attempt to unburden the currently busy system from “spurious claims”.

In The Telegraph Jon Taylor explained: “There will have been a spike in very light weight claims for unfair dismissal… The incoming changes increase the incentive for sacked employees to launch a free; unfair dismissal claim now; some people will be trying their luck when they still can.”

Discipline, Grievance, Dismissals & Redundancies

Putting in place disciplinary and grievance procedures is essential.  The Acas Code of Practice gives a clear guideline on the paperwork required and the processes that must be completed. When setting up these procedures.

Disciplinary Procedures

It is advisable to take up legal aid when drawing up your own procedures. You will need to decide on the rules that are needed, punishment for offences, identify the different levels of severity and identify the types of behaviour that will be seen as gross misconduct, meriting instant dismissal. An employee must not be dismissed after one offence unless it is gross misconduct. All employees must have the procedures and rules clearly explained to them. Managers must be trained to ensure that they fully understand and comply with procedures.  Managers must discipline consistently, only after a thorough investigation of the events. Clear records of the event and any action taking should be kept in case they are needed at a later date. If an employer fails to comply with these guidelines, a dismissed employer will have very good grounds to file for unfair dismissal against you in an employment tribunal.

Grievances

As with disciplinary procedures, there should always be a clear and easy way for employees to voice the grievances and have them settled by mangers. The grievance procedure must also follow The Acas Code of Practice. Typically, the employee should put their grievance in writing so it can be thoroughly investigated.  The grievance should then be discussed in a staff meeting and all parties involved should be present. During the discussion, an action should be agreed that will resolve the grievance. If an employee is not satisfied with the action agreed upon, they have the right to appeal to another senior or manager that was not previously involved in the matter.

Dismissal & Redundancies

A dismissal is automatically unfair if it is for a number of reasons, including; whistleblowing, health and safety activities or other forms of illegal discrimination. Employees however can be dismissed fairly on the grounds of their conduct, their ability or qualification and on the basis of redundancy. If an employee claims that they are unfairly dismissed to an employment tribunal and are found to be in the right, the employer can expect to pay a substantial award to the dismissed employee for damages and compensation for financial loss.

Employees who are made redundant are not permitted to claim redundancy pay if they have had less than two years of service to the employer. To avoid any claims being made against an employer in an employment tribunal, it is advisable to consult a legal expert to make sure that notice periods and adequate consultation has taken place.