What Are My Rights After An Accident At Work In The UK?
By Lewis Aaliyah. Last Updated 2nd June 2023. If you’re injured in an accident at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Certain questions can enter an employee’s mind if they have a workplace accident. A common one is ‘what are my rights after an accident at work?’ There is legislation in the UK designed to protect the safety of workers. It also supports employees if they have a workplace accident that wasn’t completely their fault.
In this guide, we explain what your rights are as a worker if you are injured at work. We also discuss the laws in place which protect workers from potential dangers. The rules which employers must follow to protect their staff are also explained here. We also detail how you can use our services to support your potential workplace accident claim.
Get In Touch With Our Team
You can contact our advisers at UK Law for advice on making a personal injury claim. They can answer questions and potentially offer other support on different types of claims including workplace accident claims. You may be asking yourself ‘what are my rights when I have had an accident at work?’ If you are, or you have any related questions, then our personal injury claims team can offer free legal advice.
Services And Information
- I Had An Accident At Work What Are My Rights?
- What Is An Accident At Work?
- Is My Employer Responsible For My Safety?
- What Are The Health And Safety Laws In The Workplace?
- Work Accident – Examples Of When You Could Claim
- What Are My Rights When Working For An Agency?
- Compensation For An Accident In The Workplace – How Is It Calculated?
- Could You Seek Industrial Injury Benefits?
- What to Do If An Accident Occurs in the Workplace?
- Could I Be Sacked Following A Workplace Accident?
- I Had An Accident At Work – How Long Do I Have To Claim For My Injuries?
- Had An Accident At Work – Evidence You Can Present
- Do You Handle Workplace Accident Claims On A No Win No Fee Basis?
- Contact Us For More Help
- FAQs About What Are My Rights After An Accident At Work?
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, your employer has a duty of care to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure your safety whilst performing work-related activities or whilst in the workplace.
If you had an accident at work because your rights were breached and your employer did not fulfil their duty of care, you may have the right to start a compensation claim.
This guide explains what to do after an accident at work and how to start a claim for a work injury. It will also show you how compensation is valued and talk to you about the other rights you have under employment law when making a claim.
Our advisers are also available to speak to you directly to answer any questions you have.
There is more than one way that an incident can be considered an accident at work. An obvious example is an accident which happens within a place of work. It could be considered a workplace accident if it is related to work carried out and/or the use of work equipment or the condition of the site or premises. Circumstances that can lead to a workplace accident vary. Examples include faulty work equipment, a tripping or falling hazard, spillages or an injury caused by manual handling.
If you are not in your place of work, but you are injured in an accident because of work activity, then that could also be considered an accident at work too. Accidents at work can be reported and claimed whether you are an employee, agency worker or self-employed and hired by a company.
The graph above comes from the Health and Safety Executive. It shows the types of non-fatal accidents which were most often reported by employers under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
Your employer is legally responsible to protect the health and safety of you and every other member of staff they have. Various legislation (simplified on the Health and Safety Executive’s website) gives companies legal obligations to follow regarding the protection of their employees. These responsibilities are commonly known as the employer’s duty of care.
The exact requirements your employer must follow as their duty of care can vary. It depends on the type of company you work for and what the work environment is like. To summarise though, your employer must always take reasonable measures to minimise the risk to your health and wellbeing while carrying out your duties. As part of this, your employer should regularly inspect your workplace and identify and address any potential risks in the area identified.
Your employer is also responsible for implementing precautions if your work environment can be hazardous. You should also be adequately trained by your employer on any work equipment you use. Any manual handling procedures should be covered also. If a workplace accident happens to you and you’re injured, then your employer could be found to have breached their care of duty. Such a breach entitles you to claim for compensation.
Legislation in the UK exists to protect health and safety standards in workplaces. It also allows for legal action if standards ever fall below the requirements, causing injury. Laws that employers follow as part of their duty of care to protect their staff include (but are not limited to) the following:
This is one of the most important pieces of legislation regarding workplace health and safety laws. It sets out the general duties which employers have towards their workers and members of the public. It also outlines duties employees have to themselves and each other. It also includes certain duties which the self-employed have towards themselves and others.
This act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. When it comes to an employer’s duty of care, it is not just the risk of accidents they should minimise. Employers also have a responsibility to protect their staff from verbal abuse, physical assault and other actions which could be motivated by discrimination.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) covers the rights that most employees have when they work. Section 44 of this Act protects workers from any detriment from their employer if they take (or refuse to take) certain actions on reasonable grounds of health and safety. For example, you could refuse to carry out a duty given by your employer because you had good reason to believe it would endanger you. In such cases, it would be deemed unfair if your employer dismissed you for this action.
In this section, we look at examples of work accidents in which your employer may have breached their duty of care, and you could be eligible to claim injury at work compensation.
Below are some example scenarios of when you could claim:
- A slip or fall accident could occur if walkways are cluttered and aren’t dealt with quickly enough by your employer.
- If your employer provides you with faulty equipment, such as a damaged ladder, you could be injured in a serious accident.
- Your employer may fail to provide you with adequate training. For example, if you work in a warehouse and aren’t trained on how to lift heavy boxes, you could suffer a shoulder injury.
- If you aren’t provided with personal protective equipment (PPE), you might cut your hand when using equipment such as a saw.
Get in touch for free legal advice. Our advisors can answer your questions on accident at work law, such as, ‘I had an accident at work, what are my rights in the UK?’.
If you are an agency worker, you may ask yourself ‘what are my rights after an accident at work?’ The answer is that you have similar rights to permanent workers. That includes the right to seek compensation if you are injured at work.
Also, if you have 12 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer, then the employer must treat you as they would a permanent staff member. This includes equality in terms of salary level and sick pay.
Your employer, however, may be the agency you’re working through. Be sure to check your contract which should define who your employer is. No matter who your employer is on paper, if you’re injured at work through someone else’s negligence, you could claim.
If you make a successful personal injury claim following an accident in the workplace, your compensation settlement could include general and special damages.
General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have incurred that has been caused by the injury you suffered in the workplace accident. When valuing this head of claim, many legal professionals will refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document lists compensation guidelines for various injuries. We have included some of the amounts listed in the 16th edition of the JCG in the table below.
Please only use this table as a guide.
Injury Notes Compensation
Moderately Severe Brain Damage Disabilities are both cognitive and physical. £219,070 to £282,010
Very Severe Scarring Facial Disfigurement The psychological reaction is severe as is the cosmetic disfigurement. £29,780 to £97,330
Less Severe Arm Injuries A substantial level of recovery is anticipated. £19,200 to £39,170
Moderate (ii) Back Injuries The muscles are disturbed and there are soft tissue injuries. £12,510 to £27,760
Skeletal Injuries (b) The face is deformed to some extent. £14,900 to £23,950
Moderate (iii) Neck Injury An existing condition is worsened by your injuries. £7,890 to £13,740
Moderate (ii) Knee Injury Expect ongoing discomfort and aching. Up to £13,740
Moderate Shoulder Injury Symptoms may last for as long as two years. £7,890 to £12,770
You may also be awarded special damages. This compensates you for the financial losses you have suffered that were directly caused by your injury. Some examples of the losses you could be compensated for include:
- A loss of earnings if you needed time off work to recover.
- Medical expenses, such as prescription costs.
- Travel costs, such as bus or taxi fares to medical appointments.
You will need to provide evidence of these losses, such as with bank statements and payslips.
For more information about personal injury claims for accidents at work, you can contact our advisors. They can also offer you free advice for your potential claim.
If you are disabled or become ill because of what happened at work, then you may be entitled to what is known as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits (IIDB). This could come in addition to compensation from a personal injury claim. IIDB is a fund provided by the UK Government which you could be entitled to if you suffer a workplace injury that causes disability or you have a particular work-related illness.
Certain criteria should be met to qualify for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits. Before you can receive it, it needs to be confirmed that you were employed when your accident happened. You may also receive it if you have been on an approved training scheme, course or event when the accident happened. Also, the accident which leads to your injury/illness must have occured in England, Wales or Scotland. There are some exceptions, however.
You may also need an examination before IIDB can be received. The exam helps assess your level of disablement. A percentage is recorded for your disability and you must be considered as having at least 14% disablement to receive IIDB. The amount you receive from IIDB varies depending on the percentage of your disability. The higher it is, the more you’ll be paid.
The first step to take following an injury in an accident is to seek any needed medical attention. It is always recommended to treat your health as the priority.
When you are well enough, you can collect any available evidence of your accident and injury. This can include:
- Contact details of witnesses to your accident
- Information about any treatment you received at the site of the accident
- Pictures taken of your injury at the site of the accident, or after receiving treatment
- Pictures, or other recordings, of the cause of the accident
- Detailed notes of what you remember about the accident and its cause
If your injury was caused by third party negligence, you could then reach out to a personal injury solicitor. This can be an important step to take early on following an accident, as it could mean you would have a solicitor’s help and advice on the steps to take in your claim, alongside help with gathering, requesting and maintaining evidence.
If you have been injured in an accident at work, it is within your rights to make a claim. Our advisers can help you with information about the steps you can take following an accident at work and the law regarding your rights as an employee.
By law, your employer should not sack you simply for being injured by a workplace accident. Your employer is also not meant to fire you if you claim following an accident in their workplace.
When an accident at work occurs, it is standard procedure for the accident to be reported to your employer. The accident should be recorded in the company accident book. This official record can be checked by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at any time. Reports in the company accident book should detail who was involved in the accident. This could prove valuable evidence if you are unfairly dismissed for a workplace accident.
If you are ever sacked for being in a workplace accident or for claiming, seek legal advice to see if you can claim for unfair dismissal. You can get free legal advice and expertise for this type of claim if you contact us by phone or via our online contact form.
There is a time limit to when you can start a personal injury claim. It is generally set at 3 years from the date of your accident as per the Limitation Act 1980.
If you are making a claim on behalf of a minor who was injured in an accident at work, this time limit will be suspended. During this time, they can:
- Be represented by a litigation friend. A court-appointed litigation friend would be able to start a claim on their behalf at any point before the minor turns 18.
- Start a claim by themselves when they turn 18. This is when their 3-year time limit will start to apply, expiring on the date of their 21st They can make their own claim in this window if one hasn’t already been made for them.
A similar exception exists for people who lack the mental capacity to start a claim. An appointed litigation friend could start their claim at any point, as their claim’s time limit will be suspended indefinitely. If they regain the mental capacity to put forward their own claim, they will have three years from the recovery date.
You can reach out to one of our advisers for more information about the accident at work procedure in the UK.
If you suffered an injury at work, your rights include the ability to claim against your employer if you can prove their negligent behaviour led to your injury.
In order to claim successfully, you will need to provide evidence of your employer’s liability and your injury.
You could present this in the form of:
- Photos taken of the hazard or your injury
- Contact details of witnesses, such as colleagues, who can corroborate that your employer was not meeting their health and safety requirements and responsibilities, leading to your injury
- CCTV footage or recordings that show the accident
- Correspondence between you and your employer about any hazards
- Medical records about your injury or treatment
There may be other forms of evidence not included in this list that could be helpful for your claim. It’s best to collect or maintain any evidence you can think of that can show that you had an accident at work and how your employer may be liable.
You may also need to present evidence of any financial losses directly relating to your injury. This can include:
- Bank statements
Please get in touch with a member of our team for information on claims for injuries sustained in accidents at work, and the law protecting your rights following an accident
Here at UK Law, our panel is able to support your workplace accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis. Signing a contract with a solicitor from our panel for your case on a No Win No Fee basis provides certain guarantees. Importantly for claimants, the terms and conditions of payment are clearly established.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement, you enjoy several benefits. One is usually a guarantee that no solicitor fees need to be paid upfront. Another is a guarantee that no solicitor fees should need to be paid during the claim. If the case is ultimately unsuccessful, then you shouldn’t need to pay your solicitor’s legal fees.
You will only need to pay your solicitor for their work if your case succeeds. Your No Win No Fee agreement should confirm that your solicitor will deduct a small percentage of the compensation awarded to you. This covers their payment and is typical of No Win No Fee contracts.
If you want the answer to questions like ‘what are my rights after an accident at work?’ then we can help. You can contact UK Law to get free specialist advice from our panel of lawyers. We can support personal injury claims including ones involving workplace accidents. We’ll happily answer any query you may have about your legal rights following an accident at work.
You can reach our team online by:
Looking for more information about your legal rights after an accident at work? The sources included below are useful links on how workplace injuries should be reported. There are also resources explaining how the legal rights function for workers following an accident.
This page provides details on workplace injuries that should be reported under RIDDOR. RIDDOR puts duties on employers, self-employed workers and people in control of work premises to report certain incidents. These include certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified near misses.
This government page provides guides on how expenses and benefits work for employees who become workplace accident victims.
This page gives you extensive access to statistics on workplace safety and accidents. The statistics from the Health and Safety Executive include details on the frequency and type of workplace injuries reported in the UK.
Other Useful Compensation Guides
- Can You Sue Your Employer While Still Working For Them?
- Who Do You Make A Car Accident At Work Claim Against?
- Trailing Cable Hazard Accident And Injury Claims
- Who Should Be Informed If A Fatal Accident Occurred At Work?
If you would like to speak to an adviser about your rights after an accident at work, you can contact UK Law for help using the contact details included within this guide.