Compensation claims are becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK, with the most recent statistics showing that the HSE made £13.4 billion in payouts to victims of on-the-job accidents and illnesses in 2010/2011. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury or an occupational disease, you may be eligible to file a claim. Follow these tips to determine your eligibility and file your claim:
Determining Your Eligibility
Workplace injuries and occupational diseases are umbrella terms that encompass a number of circumstances. Examples of workplace injuries range from relatively minor accidents like slips and trips to more serious—and potentially fatal—accidents like falls from heights and vehicle collisions. Occupational diseases refer to medical conditions that develop as the result of exposure to harmful chemicals, fibres, or materials at work. Examples of occupational diseases include workers who have developed eczema after contact with harsh chemicals or those who have developed mesothelioma or lung cancer after exposure to asbestos fibres. If you’ve been incapacitated from work and/or have suffered loss of quality of life as a result of a workplace accident or work-related illness, you may be able to make a claim.
Gathering the Evidence
If you are injured on the job, the first thing you should do is report the incident to your employer or HR rep to be recorded in the company accident book. You should also ask for a copy of all relevant medical records from your doctor and keep receipts from medical expenses you’ve incurred, including hospital bills, specialty care costs, and medications you’ve bought. If you’ve been incapacitated from work, keep a record of how long you’ve been out and your total lost earnings to date. Depending on the extent of your injuries or illness, it might also be a good idea to keep a log of your symptoms. All of this evidence will prove to be important should you decide to file a compensation claim later on.
Filing a Claim
If you’ve been incapacitated from work for at least four days, you will most likely be eligible to receive statutory sick pay from your employer for up to 28 weeks. That said, statutory sick pay is often not enough to cover the total cost of your medical expenses, especially if you are suffering from a long-term disability or chronic illness. In these cases, filing a compensation claim may be your best option. However, it is important to remember that accidents at work claims are complicated and time-consuming legal matters, so it is in your best interests to find an experienced solicitor who has demonstrated success with these types of cases to take on your claim. Most lawyers will take on your case at no upfront cost to you (known as “no win no fee” agreements) in order to help you win the compensation you deserve.