Suffering an accident at work can turn your life upside down. 121,430 workplace injuries were reported in 2009/10, with 152 of them tragically resulting in death. Many people are not only burdened with an injury, but also the stress and uncertainty as to what it means for their job, their relationship with their employer and how they should proceed. There are many conflicting discussions over work accident claims, not to mention the many adverts for personal injury solicitors on television, but the legal facts of the matter are fairly straightforward once laid out properly. If you or someone you know has suffered an accident at work, read on to get a clear understanding of the facts and what your best course of action is for the future. First of all, a work accident claim is, essentially, where you claim compensation from your employer because they are responsible for the accident you suffered at your workplace. Employers have a legal duty of care towards employees and are responsible if they fail in this duty of care. This means that for a successful claim, you must prove your accident was caused by employer negligence. This can be more complicated than it sounds, but the important part is that, even if you are partly responsible for your accident, if your employer caused it or allowed it to happen by not following proper safety procedure then you have cause for a claim. UK law allows for a three year period after your accident in which you can make a claim. This period starts either on the day of your accident or the day it became apparent you suffered a condition or an injury that was your employer’s responsibility. While this sounds like a large amount of time and it should ease any pressure you feel to make any decisions rashly, you should still see a solicitor as soon as you’ve made a decision to allow time for preparing a case. The financial settlement you claim for will be worked out in terms of general damages and special damages. General damages covers your pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of the accident, while special damages accounts for loss of earnings, treatment fees and any other costs incurred. A major concern for many people is how making a claim will affect their job security or relationship with their employer. This is certainly understandable, but from a legal viewpoint it shouldn’t affect your decision. Companies are legally required to have insurance for work accident claims, so the insurance company will pay your settlement instead of your employer. Moreover, if an employer has breached their duty of care towards you, it is only fair they take responsibility for the accident, and all professional employers will understand this. Most importantly, it is illegal for you to lose your job as a result of making a work accident claim. While it may seem clear to you that your employer is at fault for your accident, proving it in court can be a difficult matter. It can include a large amount of work, such as finding where safety laws have been specifically broken in a huge number of legal bills such as Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. This is the kind of work that should be entrusted to an experienced personal injury solicitor. There are things you can do to help your case, however. In the event of an accident at work, we recommend following these steps: 1). Report the accident straight away to your employer, ensuring a formal record of it is made and kept. 2). Seek medical attention straight away. You should immediately make sure that your injury is properly treated and that your health is looked after. 3). Keep all official notes and documentation surrounding the accident, including any and all records, photographs or other papers. 4). Do not agree, sign or admit to any settlement or acceptance of fault that your employer presses on you. In all cases you should seek expert, independent legal advice before agreeing to anything. If you need legal help, Beecham Peacock have experienced, specialist personal injury solicitors with a long history of working with trade unions and employees to ensure their case is well looked after for the result they deserve. Take a look at some of our recent cases and get in touch today.