Your employer has a duty to protect you while you are at your place of work. This means that if you have an accident whilst at work they have certain obligations in terms of reporting what has happened to the Health and Safety department within your local authority. If the accident is their fault, you might also be in a position to seek financial compensation from them. The purpose of this compensation is to ensure there are no detrimental effects on your financial situation as a result of your accident. If you are finding yourself facing the difficult decision, therefore of whether or not to seek compensation from your employer, remember that it is your right to do so and that in seeking redress you are only claiming what you have lost.
What should I do after an accident?
Nidirect offer some guidance as to the first steps you should take if you have an accident at work. In the first instance, you need to ensure that any accident, no matter how minor is reported in your employer’s accident book. More serious accidents should be reported directly to HSENI and you should ensure that this happens. Whether or not you will be paid full sick pay during your absence will depend on your contract of employment, pull this out or request a copy to see what you are entitled to. The next step is to speak to your employer, they might offer to pay you full pay during your absence if the accident is their fault. The Citizen’s Advice service also advises that you should see a doctor to enable them to record the medical details of your accident. This will be extremely useful should you decide to instruct a solicitor to seek financial compensation at a later stage.
Of course, there are employers out there who will try and shirk their responsibilities and they might not agree to pay you any sick pay during any time off you have as a result of an accident and so you might wish to recover loss of earnings. There are also other costs related to an accident that you should consider, prescription costs or over the counter medicines, travels costs to your doctor, telephone bills or even damage to your clothing. Compensation can also be considered against any activities you have been unable to do during your period of incapacity and against any help you have received from friends or family. For a general idea of the amount of compensation you might be entitled to you could complete an accident at work compensation calculator.
Can my employer terminate me if I make a claim?
It is illegal for an employer to sack you if you make a compensation claim following an accident at work. Indeed, should an employer attempt to sack you, it is highly likely that you would be able to make a successful claim for unfair dismissal. The relationship between you and your employer should not be affected by you following up on your rights to be protected whilst you are at work. If it is in any way, and you are made to feel that you can no longer go on working for your employer it might be that you would have a strong case for constructive dismissal and so be able to seek further financial compensation through an employment tribunal. Remember, it is always your employer’s duty to keep you safe at work and that if they fail to do this, they have an obligation to ensure that you are in no worse position than you were before an accident. If this involves financial compensation it is their duty to pay it.