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5 steps to take after an accident at work

I've had an accident at work, what should I do?

Slips trips and falls at work
13th June 2018

Following an accident or injury on-site, it can be difficult to know what to do. Well managed workplaces should provide regular training on how to handle accidents and injuries on-site, but when you’re the victim, this knowledge doesn’t always spring to mind when you need it most, particularly if the incident was serious or traumatic.

1. Get Medical Attention

As soon as you can, see your doctor or go to A&E if the injury is serious. If you delay medical treatment, you run the risk of doing further damage. Getting prompt medical treatment has two benefits; it will provide swift pain relief, and it allows for the injury to be logged officially in your medical records courtesy of your hospital or GP. If you need help, seek out your colleagues and co-workers on-site.

2. Report and Record your Accident

Most workplaces will have an Accident Book. These are kept to highlight any common dangers and to keep a record of injuries for both insurance and reporting purposes. Compile your notes and views on what happened and where you can, get an eyewitness or other involved parties to add their own. You’ll be required to sign and date the record. For greater clarity, photographs of the scene and any hazards will be particularly helpful as you can rely on this as evidence, later on, should you need it. Some firms may be too small to have an accident book, so if you find this to be the case, pass your signed notes to your employer and if you can, submit them in an email, so you have a dated copy. If the injury is particularly serious, your employer will be legally required to report it under the ‘Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013’ (RIDDOR)

3. Manage the Discussion

Most employers will have a great process in place for handling workplace accidents and the inevitable discussions and procedures that follow. Most of these processes are designed to ensure that everything is recorded fairly and to help you to get back to work as quickly as possible. There are some employers however who do not have these procedures in place, so it’s important that whatever the case, you keep detailed records of any letters, emails, discussions or meetings you have with others relating to your accident. This way, if there’s any later disagreement on what has been discussed or agreed, you have a paper trail and documentation to refer to.

4. Record Your Expenses

While rare, some accidents can lead to injuries that can last for a long time. If you’re the unfortunate victim of an accident like this, it’s likely that you’ll be left with out-of-pocket expenses for major things like medical treatment, medication and rehabilitation, as well as minor costs for transport, accommodation and parking. It’s likely that without the injury, you wouldn’t have needed to pay out for these, so you may be able to claim them back at a later stage if you choose to claim work accident compensation. The same is true of your pay. If you miss weeks or months of work and you don’t get paid for it, it can cause you a lot of financial trouble, and it can also reduce things like pension contributions, and any other benefits you might receive. These should also be noted and recording alongside payslips so that you can ask for these ‘costs’ to be included in any later settlement.

5. Speak to a Good Work Accident Solicitor

In most cases, the injuries you pick up at work will be minor where you can recover by doing some lighter tasks until your doctor tells you that you’re safe to return to your ‘regular’ role. For some, however, this isn’t always the case. There are some instances where unsafe work practices or poor health and safety procedures lead to a serious injury that can cause a lot of pain, financial distress and frustration.

Accidents that cause injuries like these are never intentional, but where employer neglect leads to expensive medical bills and missed mortgage payments, you could sympathise with victims for wanting to claim these expenses back from their employer. If you choose to go down the compensation route, be sure to choose a solicitor who has a great track record and a history of good customer service. You can find much of this information online, but you can also arrange to speak to many of them for free over the phone to ask questions and to discuss your circumstances.

Often you won’t know if someone is a good fit for you until you speak to them, so feel free to note down any specific questions, and to ask for examples of similar cases that they’ve handled. You can sometimes find the notes from court cases online to see how well they did. It’s also worth checking to see if your chosen solicitor features in any legal directories or ranking lists such as the Legal 500 or the Chambers and Partners tables.