What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work?

By Cat Reeves. Last Updated 5th May 2023. After experiencing an accident that should not have happened at work, you may be left wondering what your employer’s responsibilities for accidents at work actually are. This article aims to explain an employer’s role in the event of an accident at work that harmed you and wasn’t your fault.

Employers responsibilities for accidents at work

Employer’s responsibilities for accidents at work guide

At UK Law, we offer detailed information on compensation claims of all kinds. This article can help you understand what compensation your employer may owe you after an accident that they caused led to your injury.

If you need any further help, our advisors are on-hand 24/7. They give free legal advice with no obligation for you to proceed with the services of our panel of solicitors. However, if you have a valid claim, our advisors could connect you with our panel.

So why not reach out today?:

  • Call us for an informal, no-obligation chat on 020 3870 4868
  • Use our claim online form
  • Use the ‘live support’ option (bottom right of this screen) for instant help

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Your Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work
  2. What Are Accidents At Work?
  3. Is Your Employer Responsible For Your Safety?
  4. Is Your Employer Responsible For Your Training?
  5. How Do I Prove My Employer Had Responsibilities They Did Not fULFIL>
  6. Calculating Payouts For Accidents At Work
  7. Is Your Employer Responsible For Recording And Reporting Your Injuries?
  8. Types Of Accidents At Work
  9. Time Limits For Calculating Your Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work And Claiming
  10. How Do I Work Out My Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work?
  11. Claim For Accidents At Work On A No Win No Fee Basis
  12. Supplementary Resources
  13. FAQs About Your Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work

Everything You Need To Know About Your Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work

An accident in the workplace can have disastrous consequences for the employee. You may suffer physical or mental harm that impacts your ability to function as before and may need time off to recover. This could significantly damage your income, creating numerous other problems as you try to get well.

For many people impacted by an accident that wasn’t their fault, seeking compensation can be a favourable opportunity to put things right. This article explains how you could do the same with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

We discuss the two main types of compensation it can be possible to calculate. One focuses on the physical injuries you have suffered and the other looks at financial loss caused by the injuries. Put together with the right proof, they can make the foundation of your claim for compensation.

We look at the laws that support your right to expect to be reasonably safe at work and how an employer could be liable if they breach them. In conclusion, we explain how a No Win No Fee solicitor can help you if you have a valid claim.

What Are Accidents At Work?

Firstly, it’s important to understand that not every accident at work can be blamed on your employer. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is the legislation that outlines what an employer’s duties toward employee safety and wellbeing are.

Also included in this law are employees’ duties for taking care of their own safety. Your employer’s responsibilities for accidents at work only go so far.

Before you start a claim for compensation, it can be wise to ask yourself these questions:

  • Could the accident have been avoided?
  • Did I do everything I could to avoid being harmed?
  • Is it realistic to blame my employer for this?
  • Did I cause it?

There can be instances where accidents still happen despite rigorous compliance with health and safety procedures. It’s a simple fact of life that people slip, trip and fall or that they can be in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’.

A serious case for compensation for injuries in the workplace can only be considered if you have proof that your employer actually failed to comply with the law in a way that directly resulted in you being injured or suffering a worsening of your injuries.

However, if you choose to use the services of a personal injury solicitor to claim, they could advise you on what evidence you need. We also discuss this later in this guide. Call our advisors if you’d like to know if you could claim.

Is Your Employer Responsible For Your Safety?

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers have a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure your safety is protected in the workplace. This could involve providing:

  • As consistently safe a working environment as is reasonably possible to all employees, contractors, visitors and members of the public who may encounter the premises/business
  • Proper safety training and supervision
  • Maintainance of machinery and systems
  • Regular risk assessments
  • Reducing any hazards or removing them

Again, all of these measures have realistic limits and, under Section 7, employees must take reasonable care of themselves and other employees. They should also act as directed under health and safety protocol and co-operate with any health and safety requirements as they arise or change.

Risks and hazards should be promptly reported and safety representatives can request updates as to when these issues have been addressed.

Despite the clear guidance, workplace accident statistics show that injuries and accidents at work can still be remarkably common. Without the essential measures in place, every day at work could present a potential risk to the employee.

Speak to our advisors about starting a claim for compensation if your employer’s negligence caused your injuries.

Is Your Employer Responsible For Your Training?

Employers should ensure you have the appropriate training to carry out tasks. They don’t always need to provide it, but they should ensure you have it. For example, they may request that you have a forklift licence before they offer you a role driving them.

The more technical the role, the more essential it is that staff know what they are doing. Whilst being qualified for the role in the first place may represent the reason you got the job, the HSE does not permit employers to assume that their staff are always fully briefed on health and safety procedures. It is the employer’s duty to provide relevant information and training.

Health and safety awareness should be available to employees. This could be in the format of a training seminar or as printed and displayed information, for example.

It is also the employees’ responsibility to not endanger the health and safety of themselves or others. You can request further training and it may be possible that your employer provides this.

How Do I Prove My Employer Had Responsibilities They Did Not Fulfil?

An important part of claiming compensation is collecting evidence that proves your injuries were a result of your employer breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and your employer’s responsibilities going unfulfilled.

Some examples of evidence that you could collect to support your claim include:

  • Photographs: Pictures of your injuries or of the accident site can help illustrate the extent of the harm suffered, as well as how your injuries were caused
  • CCTV footage: If your workplace has a CCTV system, you may be able to request footage of the accident or the circumstances leading up to it to use as evidence.
  • Accident book logs: Recording the accident in the accident at work book creates a record of what happened and can later be used to strengthen your claim.
  • Medical records: Your medical records can showcase the severity of your injuries, as well as the extent of the treatment you may need to recover.

To learn more about what you can do to strengthen your claim and how a solicitor from our panel could help, get in touch with an advisor from our team today. Alternatively, read on to learn more about employer responsibilities and how much compensation you could receive for a successful claim.

Calculating Payouts For Accidents At Work

In this section of our guide to an employer’s responsibilities for accidents at work, we look at calculating compensation.

If you make a personal injury claim, a personal injury lawyer can represent you or you can construct and make a claim on your own. Some of the advantages of using a legal representative are that they have experience with personal injury claims and relevant laws.

When calculating compensation payouts, legal professionals assess two potential heads of claim. The first is general damages.

General Damages

General damages compensate you for your injuries (whether mental or physical).

This amount can be calculated by using the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This publication offers a list of possible award brackets for physical and psychological injury.

Your lawyer can arrange a medical assessment for you. During the assessment, a medical professional would assess your injuries and create a report. The purpose of that report is twofold:

  1. To record the severity of your injuries.
  2. To decide whether the incident caused, worsened or didn’t have any effect on your injuries.

If there’s no link between your injuries and the accident, you’d find it hard to claim. However, you could claim if the report shows your injuries were caused or worsened by the accident.

Your solicitor could then cross-reference your injuries with those in the JCG. This would allow them to value your injuries.

The compensation table below includes figures taken from the JCG for illustrative purposes.

Injuries Severity Award bracket from the JCG
Head (e) Minor Brain or Head Injury £2,210 to £12,770
PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) (d) Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180
Chest Injuries (e) Toxic fume/smoke inhalation £5,320 to £12,590
Neck Injuries (b) Moderate (i) £24,990 to £38,490
Back Injuries (a) Severe (ii) £74,160 to £88,430
Shoulder Injuries (c) Moderate £7,890 to £12,770
Injuries to the Elbow (c) Moderate or Minor Injury Up to £12,590
Hand Injuries (f) Severe Fractures to Fingers Up to £36,740
Leg Injuries (c) Less Serious Leg Injuries (ii) £9,110 to £14,080
Foot Injuries (e) Serious £24,990 to £39,200

These amounts try to reflect the pain and suffering caused to you. They are not cast-iron guarantees. Each case varies and your compensation amount could be more or less. To get a value tailored to your claim, get in touch with our advisors.

Special Damages

Special damages compensate for the financial losses the injury causes. After a serious accident, you could be confronted with an array of additional money worries on top of your health ones.

In order to prove your financial losses, you need to collect evidence. This can include bank statements, invoices, receipts or bills.

Financial losses you may suffer due to an injury include:

  • Physiotherapy or counselling bills (that aren’t covered by the NHS or your other healthcare provider)
  • Loss of wages while you recovered
  • Emergency or extra child care provision as you recovered
  • Loss of pension contributions or staff attendance bonuses
  • Lost deposits for events you couldn’t attend
  • Pet care, gardening and other tasks you were no longer able to perform

Speak to our advisors if you suffered an out-of-pocket expense as a result of an accident at work that wasn’t your fault.

You can only make one claim per personal injury incident and some costs can continue weeks, months or even years after the initial accident. Your personal injury lawyer can show you how to include future costs and ensure that have the best chance of receiving the fullest and most appropriate award.

Is Your Employer Responsible For Recording And Reporting Your Injuries?

Your employer’s responsibilities for accidents at work might be outlined in HSE guidance. To summarise the guidance in an ‘at a glance’ way, below are some procedures that could be adhered to after an accident at work:

  • Any accident at work should be reported to your employer as soon as possible.
  • The first-aider or Health and Safety Representative should be advised where necessary.
  • An accident book should be filled out with the name, time, location, causes and details of the injury. This is a logbook that all workplaces of 10 or more employees should have.
  • The severity of the injury should also be reported and, in cases where the accident or injury is notifiable, it should be reported through RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995).
  • They should try to ensure you are free from continued risk or hazard where reasonable.

Your employer must be doing all they can reasonably do to prevent workplace injuries. Furthermore, as we have discussed, the employee has a duty of care to themselves and others as well.

If an accident does happen at work, it should always be reported as a matter of formality. The resulting notes in the logbook can be accessed to support your claim for compensation.

Is Your Employer Responsible For Giving You Sick Leave And Pay?

Employees are permitted to take time off work if they’re ill or injured but they need to provide proof of that illness if it’s for longer than 7 days. Employers are not legally required to provide company sick pay. However, you can apply for Statutory Sick Pay.

You need to check the terms of your employment contract to confirm whether you could be entitled to company sick pay.

In the event that your employer doesn’t offer company sick pay, you can apply for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). However, you need to ensure you’re eligible. For example, you’ll need to be:

  • be an ’employee’ (not self-employed, for example)
  • earn at least an average of £120 each week
  • ill for at least 4 days consecutive days (which can include non-working days)

SSP can represent a significant drop in income for those forced to be off work for a prolonged period. However, you could recover the loss of earnings if you make a personal injury claim.

Types Of Accidents At Work

Regardless of the complexity of your job or the nature of what you do, certain everyday accidents can cause injuries in the easiest ways.

  • Slipping on a wet floor surface during housekeeping or cleaning
  • Tripping on uneven or unmaintained floor surfaces
  • Stumbling on unstored computer cables
  • Trying to lift or manipulate heavy objects incorrectly
  • Machinery that malfunctions
  • Violence from colleagues or members of the public
  • Unmarked heights without any fall prevention
  • Handling of chemicals or toxic materials
  • Extreme weather or temperatures
  • Any form of the working process that can directly threaten your health (asbestos, radioactive materials)

Under certain circumstances, shortcuts or disregard of regulations means that you could fall foul of an accident that causes injury. Everyone in the workplace needs to play their part in safeguarding against creating hazards.

My Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work: Other Legislation

There are other pieces of legislation that seek to provide specific rules regarding the safety of employees in the workplace. They include:

These laws try to provide guidance about all manner of working environments and activities. Everything from the amount of time you spend looking at computer screens to the way you should most safely bend and lift with heavy objects is covered by precise legislation.

Time Limits For Calculating Your Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work And Claiming

The time limit in place for starting a personal injury claim is generally 3 years.

The 3 years can start from the date you were injured or the date you gained knowledge that negligence at least contributed to your injuries.

Under 18 Years Old

If you’re not yet 18, you would have 3 years to claim from your 18th birthday. However, someone could claim on your behalf before this. They would be a litigation friend.

Mental Capacity

If you lack the mental capacity to claim, a litigation friend could do so on your behalf. However, if you recover mental capacity and nobody has started a claim on your behalf already, you would have 3 years from the date of recovery to claim.

How Do I Work Out My Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work?

To accurately understand your employer’s responsibilities toward you in regards to workplace safety, you can ask the following questions:

  • Did my employer have a duty of care to protect my safety?
  • Did they breach this duty, causing an accident or incident?
  • Were your injuries caused by that accident or incident?

If you can answer yes to these, it’s likely that your employer had a responsibility to protect your health and failed to do so.

It may be that they were only partially responsible for your injuries. In cases such as this, you could still claim. There may be a shared liability which results in you receiving a reduced portion of compensation.

As each case varies, it’s worth getting in touch with our advisors to discuss exactly what happened to you that day and who was really responsible. Your employer may be exposed to greater liability than you at first supposed.

Claim For Accidents At Work On A No Win No Fee Basis

When considering making a claim against your employer for an injury that should have been safeguarded against, you can hire legal representation in several ways. Many UK law firms charge hourly, weekly or monthly rates and invoice you as the case progresses.

Some require a retainer or a deposit to work on your behalf. This can present some claimants with an immediate obstacle. It was recognised that some people may lack the immediate funds to hire the services of a lawyer. No Win No Fee was devised as a solution to this.

When you engage the services of a lawyer on a No Win No Fee basis, they can start working on your claim without needing any upfront solicitor fee payments. As the case develops, they continue to work at no fee. If the case fails, they ask for no payment of their solicitor’s fee.

Also referred to as ‘Conditional Fee Agreements’ (CFA), under No Win No Fee you only pay a small percentage of your settlement if the claim is successful. This can offer professional legal representation with reduced financial risk to you.

Supplementary Resources

To sum up, in addition to the information about employers’ responsibilities for accidents at work, we can offer advice and guidance on:

Our advisors can respond quickly to your query. They can offer you free legal advice on the most appropriate course of action for your claim and help answer questions, such as, ‘Can I sue my employer?’. 

Get in touch by:

  • Calling us for an informal, no-obligation chat on 020 3870 4868
  • Use our claim online form
  • Use the ‘live support’ option (bottom right of this screen) for instant help

Our panel of solicitors offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. If you get in touch with our advisors, they can connect you.

FAQs About Your Employer’s Responsibilities For Accidents At Work

In this section, we answer some commonly asked questions.

What can I do if my employer argues about liability?

This is when the evidence of your medical assessment and financial loss is important. It can also be valuable to obtain witness statements and CCTV footage to prove the injuries caused and the way the accident happened. Any resistance on the part of your employer for their liability will have to stand up against this.

How much will l get?

There are no hard and fast guarantees of how much compensation you could get. It depends on the extent of the injuries and the damage they caused you. A very bad injury could cause life-altering harm that your employer may need to pay thousands of pounds to properly address. Our advisors can value your claim for free and with no obligation for you to proceed with our services.

Will I lose my job if I try to sue my employer?

Your employer has no right to be prejudiced against you for making a legitimate claim for workplace negligence that injured you. If they attempt to dismiss you for making an honest claim, you could have grounds to claim for unfair dismissal.

Thank you for reading our guide employer’s responsibilities for accidents at work 

Writer FE 

Checked by HT