Most peoples reason to go to work is so that they can earn money to support their family and maintain their standard of living; however, if you are injured at work, depending on the severity then you may lose the ability to do both. Workplace accidents not only hamper your ability to earn money, but they may also have lasting medical consequences for you. If you have been injured at your workplace or when you were carrying out a task which is related to your job then you may be eligible to make a workplace accident claim, but how does somebody with no legal experience go about doing this?
Contact a lawyer
The first step towards making a claim for a work accident is to contact a lawyer/solicitor or claims adviser. There are numerous ways to find one of these professionals who will in many cases specialise just on workplace claims, and of course the Internet and search engines such as Google make it so much easier to research each choice before you have to even contact them. Once you have made your choice (and certainly you don’t have to limit it to just one initially), give them a call or contact them by email and they should arrange an initial consultation where they will listen carefully and analyse whether your potential claim contains any elements which would help to make your claim successful.
They may ask you a lot of different questions to help to assess what role your company played in causing your accident, as well as finding out what steps they took once the accident had occurred. It is worth noting that it is possible to make a claim against someone who is still currently your employer. Employment regulation states that they cannot fire you or discriminate against you in any other way for making a compensation claim about an accident that happened to you at work.
If your lawyer decides that you have a valid claim, then they will probably ask you to begin to gather evidence to support that claim. This can include getting hold of medical reports which document the health consequences of your injuries, financial statements which show the financial effects that the accident had, and the details of witnesses who may have seen what happened to you when you had your accident. In most cases, your lawyer will ask you not to quiz your witnesses directly in relation to your accident, but they may ask you to get the contact details of those people, so that they can be called upon if needs be. The financial statements that you collect may include; bank statements, wage slips and any receipts for equipment that you have had to buy in order to treat your injuries.
In addition to existing medical documents, you may be asked to visit an independent medical adviser, so that they can assess your current health in relation to the injuries and illnesses that you have suffered.
Once you and your lawyer have sorted out a solid claim, your lawyer will contact your (former) employer to let them know that a claim is being made against them. In many cases, the claim will be dealt with by your employer’s insurance company. In some cases, your lawyer will negotiate with the defendant to help to secure you the level of compensation that you deserve. They will then ask you whether you are happy to settle for this amount. Once you have settled, you cannot make another claim for the same workplace accident. If you choose not to settle, the claim may then be taken to court.
Before you make any big decisions, your lawyer will offer you support and guidance. For example, if they believe that the claim may lose in a courtroom setting, then they will advise you to take the settlement. Alternatively, they may believe that your case is very strong, and that you could be awarded a much larger settlement in court.
Most claimants and defendants are keen to avoid court, because it is costly, time-consuming and can be stressful for all of those involved. If you are just working with a claims adviser, they may need to hire a lawyer to work with you in court. Your lawyer will present your case in front of a claims judge, and the defendant’s lawyer will have the opportunity to present their defence. You may be called to testify. Although you can win a much larger settlement by going to court, some workplace accident claims are unsuccessful, and the claimant is awarded nothing.