Work Accident? Here’s What You Need To Know
By Lydia Parrington, Trainee Solicitor at Jefferies Solicitors
How are Accidents at Work Claims Valued?
The amount of compensation you may recover in relation to an Accident at Work claim will vary depending on the specifics of your case, however, the best starting point in valuing an Accident at Work claim is to look at the severity of your injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
Valuation of Injuries
The valuation of your injuries forms what is referred to as the ‘General Damages’ part of your claim, and the aim is to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. In order to value this you will need to attend a medical appointment with an expert who will provide a report on the extent of your injuries. Once you have approved the report we will, we refer to a resource called the Judicial College Guidelines, which sets out a table of approximate compensation depending on the nature of your injury, the length of time it took you to recover, any ongoing symptoms and impact on your daily life.
- For a very minor fracture or soft tissue injury to the wrist, requiring a plaster or bandage for a matter of weeks, with a full or virtual recovery within up to 12 months = an injured person may expect to recover between £3,530 to £4,740 under the current Guidelines.
- On the upper end of the Guidelines, for a very severe head injury resulting in brain damage = an injured person may expect to recover between £282,010 to £403,990.
In addition to these sums, you would also receive special damages which cover items such as loss of earnings, any care needs, or any other out-of-pocket expenses.
The Guidelines are extremely detailed and set out various different factors which have a bearing on which bracket your injury falls into. It is important to remember that compensation will differ from case to case, and these Guidelines only apply to the General Damages element of your claim, however, they provide a good starting point for a guideline as to how much compensation you may expect to recover.
What if You Need Rehabilitation, or Further Medical Treatment?
The medical expert who examines you may recommend you undergo some rehabilitation, or even some further medical treatment or surgery. It is widely recognised that access to early rehabilitation and any necessary medical intervention is vital to enable an injured person to make the best and quickest possible recovery – in terms of medical, social, vocational and psychological recovery. In order to help you on the road to recovery, we often try to obtain an advance payment of compensation to cover your immediate needs – this is often done under the ‘2015 Rehabilitation Code’ which promotes a collaborative and early intervention approach to securing funding for your rehabilitative needs.
If you have been advised by a medical professional that you are likely to require any further surgery in the future as a result of your injuries, we will also seek to recover the cost of this surgery on a private basis within your claim.
Special Damages: What Can You Claim For?
As above, ‘General Damages’ in relation to your injuries only account for one part of your compensation claim. The other part of your compensation will be made up of what are known as ‘Special Damages’ – these are the specific financial expenses that you have incurred as a result of your accident.
These losses can include, to name a few:
- A loss of earnings as a result of having to have time off work following the accident – as well as a future loss of earnings, if the injuries have impacted on your future career prospects and earning capacity;
- Your travel expenses – such as your mileage, parking and accommodation costs incurred by attending any medical appointments in relation to your injuries;
- Care and assistance – you can claim for the time spent by your loved ones and friends (or paid professional support workers) in providing you with care and assistance following your accident, and for the care that you are likely to require in the future (eg: time spent assisting with meal preparation, or driving you to appointments);
- Private medical treatment – as touched on above, you can claim for the cost of any private medical treatment (such as surgery or therapy sessions) arising out of your injuries, as well as any prescription or equipment costs.
In order for these losses to form part of your compensation claim, it will be necessary to be able to firstly, evidence the losses; and secondly, show that they have been incurred as a direct result of your injuries. It is therefore really important that you keep hold of any receipts, invoices or details of any losses or expenses incurred following your accident – if you are unsure whether an expense can form part of your compensation claim, it is always best to pass it on to your case handler and they will be able to advise further.
What Evidence is Required?
As set out above, it will be extremely beneficial for your claim if you are able to provide evidence for each of the losses claimed, such as receipts, invoices, email confirmations, etc – this will help us to recover the maximum compensation for you. We understand it can be difficult, particularly after a serious injury, to keep track of this, and in order to assist, we have created a ‘checklist’ of some of the evidence that we may use to back up your claim for compensation:
- Workplace documentation – as you are claiming for an accident that occurred in the workplace, it will be important to have copies of documentation such as any Health & Safety reports, any entries in the workplace accident book
- Any photographic or video evidence relating to your accident, such as photos of your injury and the scene of the accident.
- Any receipts or invoices in relation to your expenses arising out of the claim – for example, prescription charges, parking tickets, taxi receipts, an invoice for a private scan, etc;
- Any medical notes and records – at the outset of your claim, we will ask for your permission to apply for your full medical records, however, it is helpful if you provide us with copies of any letters received from your GP or hospital in relation to your injuries;
- Witness evidence – it is also important that we can get in contact with anyone who may have witnessed the accident, in order to try to build an eyewitness account; we will also look to take a witness statement from you, and therefore we would recommend – if you are able to – keeping a note or diary of anything accident related.
- Earning information i.e. wage slips /P45 / tax returns if self-employed
Examples of Accident at work Settlements – Achieved by Jefferies Solicitors
Over the last 25 years, we at Jefferies Solicitors have helped thousands of injured individuals to claim the compensation they are entitled to, and there are a number of Case Studies set out on our website setting out examples of these success stories. We have provided just a few examples of our Accident at Work compensation settlements below:
Back Injury – Fall from Ladders
Whilst working as a school caretaker, our Client sustained a back injury after falling from a set of ladders – it transpired that our Client had not been given adequate equipment or training to be able to safely carry out their duties. Our Client required 6 weeks of physiotherapy to treat their back pain following the accident. This claim was settled in August 2022 and our Client recovered £7,000 in compensation.
Ruptured Bicep – Engineer at Work
Whilst working as an engineer repairing a faulty shutter, our Client sustained a complete rupture of their bicep muscle after bearing the full weight of a piece of equipment – our Client had received no training in manual handling or lifting, and the necessary equipment to carry this work out safely had not been provided. Our Client was left with weakness in their arm and limited lifting ability, and they were off work for 6 weeks. This claim was settled in November 2021 and our Client recovered £13,000 in compensation.
Fractured Toe – Five Figure Settlement
Whilst making fence panels at work, our Client was injured by a falling fence panel resulting in a fractured toe with ongoing numbness and pain. As a result of the injury, our Client suffered a permanent lack of function of their toe, a deterioration of the function of their foot, and unfortunately, they were unable to return to their hobby of playing football. This claim was settled in August 2022 and our Client recovered £45,000 in compensation.
Fractured Ankle – Scaffolding Accident
Whilst working as a roofer on scaffolding, our Client’s right foot fell between a gap in the wooden planks causing them to trip and fall – they sustained a severe ankle injury as a result. Our Client suffered from ongoing pain, required 6 months off work, was unable to drive for 5 months and was unable to return to his hobbies of running and playing football. The medical expert involved in the case predicted that our Client would develop ‘symptomatic arthrosis’ in his ankle in 15 years and further surgeries would be required in the future as a result. This claim was settled out of Court in 2014 and our Client recovered £75,000 in compensation.
Serious Permanent Disability – Six Figure Settlement
Whilst working as a sheet metal worker, our Client’s hand was crushed by a roller machine which left them in excruciating pain and with a serious permanent disability as a result. In the first instance, the initial medical report suggested that our Client had just sustained a small soft tissue injury, however as the case progressed, it became clear that our Client had suffered nerve damage in their hands and they were unable to return to work in engineering again. This claim settled in May 2016 and our Client recovered £120,450 in compensation.
ACCIDENT AT WORK CLAIMS GUIDE, NEXT STEPS
If you have experienced an accident at work then you might be entitled to claim compensation. Our experts at Jefferies are ready to help you.
To learn more and to discuss your potential claim in confidence, contact our team on 0800 342 3206. Alternatively, complete our online contact form to arrange an initial no-obligation telephone consultation with a member of our expert team.
Where next? Read:
Five-figure settlement for fall at work