Work Accident Compensation Claims

The following article takes you through everything you need to know about making a successful accident at work compensation claim.

In our guide to claiming work accident compensation:

Claiming work accident compensation

If you were hurt in an accident at work, and your injuries were caused by a coworker or by your employer, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Your claim must usually be started within 3 years of your accident.

Work injury statistics

The latest data available in 2021 is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report on work accident data (2019/20). In this period, over 693,000 people in the UK were injured at work. There were 111 fatalities.

The most common types of work accidents were:

Accident type Percentage of injuries
Slips, trips and falls (excluding from height) 29%
Manual handling 19%
Hit by a moving object 11%
Assault/violence 9%
Falls from height 8%

Industries with a significantly higher risk of injury include:

  • Farming, forestry and fishing
  • Hospitality and food services
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Construction workers and other trades

Your employer owes you a 'duty of care'

All employers owe a 'duty of care' to their employees. In general, your employer will be liable if you have been injured during the course of your work.

The HSE defines an employer's responsibility as:

"making sure that workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm, effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace."

What does this mean in practice?

In practice, this means it is your employer's duty to:

But is my employer legally responsible?

If your employer failed in their duty of care to keep you as safe as reasonably possible, your employer would be held legally liable.

In some cases, your manager or another member of staff may not be directly "at fault" for your accident. Many workplace injuries occur because an employer failed to act.

It could be that something was done in a certain way for months (or even years) without incident. This does not automatically protect an employer.

Companies must carry out regular safety reviews. These reviews ensure that a workplace meets current health and safety standards. Failure to conduct these regular checks may be evidence of an employer's negligence.

What if a member of staff caused my injury?

If another member of staff caused your work injury, the company would be held liable for that employee's actions. This principle is referred to as "vicarious liability".

Vicarious liability enables you to make a work injury claim against your employer. You could make a claim even if a negligent worker's lapse of judgment or error caused the accident.

What if I feel I was responsible (or partly responsible)?

If you were injured as a driver or pedestrian and you were partly responsible for your accident, you could claim a reduced compensation amount, through a split liability agreement.

However, if you were injured at work as the result of an accident you may have caused, you may be able to claim the full compensation amount. Your solicitor will consider factors such as:

  • Did your employer provide you with adequate training?
  • Were you given suitable protective equipment?
  • Did your manager ask you to do something unsafe?

Even if you believe you were fully or partly responsible for your injuries, your employer may still have breached their duty of care towards you. Regardless of the circumstances of an accident at work, you should always discuss your options with a solicitor.

Read more about what happens if there is uncertainty over to who is to blame?

What are my rights following an injury at work?

Your rights following an injury at work are extensive. These rights are intended to ensure that:

  • You receive the work injury compensation to which you are entitled; and
  • Your job is safe - your employer cannot fire you for making a work injury claim.

Many laws protect specific types of workers and workers in specific industries, where those jobs expose workers to particular risks.

Legislation exists both to prevent injuries at work and reduce risks, but also to ensure that employees are treated fairly if they decide to make a work accident claim.

What should I do if I have an accident at work?

There are several things that can be done to help your solicitor build a stronger case for your work injury claim. The following steps should be taken as soon as possible after the work accident:

  • report the work accident
  • record the details of the accident in your employer's accident book
  • if need be, check that your employer has reported the accident to the Health and Safety Executive
  • gather details (name and address) and statements from witnesses
  • take photos of the scene of the accident

Even if you have not decided to make an injury at work claim, you should still follow these steps.

If you would like to speak to someone who will guide you through the necessary steps following an accident at work, call us on 0800 376 1001.

Self-employed, temporary and zero-hours contract workers

If you were injured at work, whether you were a full-time or part-time employee, you would be eligible to make a work accident compensation claim. This would apply even if you were injured on the morning your first day.

Agency and temp workers

A work injury compensation claim would usually be made against the company where you were working when injured, rather than the agency that technically employed you.

If the agency has more control and responsibility for a worker's role, such as by providing training or equipment, the agency may be liable.

Read more about agency worker compensation claims.

Self-employed workers

Many self-employed workers work on premises owned or operated by another party. Examples include self-employed electricians or plumbers working on a building site.

If you are self-employed and have been injured as a result of the negligence of the operator of the premises where you were working, you may have grounds for a work accident claim.

Read more about self-employed worker injury claims.

Zero-hours contracts

Regardless of the type of contract you are on, your employer still owes you a duty of care.

If your working conditions are unsafe in any way and you are injured as a result, you can claim work accident compensation even if you are on a zero-hours contract.

Read more about injury claims on a zero-hours contract.


Homeworkers, sometimes called “out-workers”, may be eligible to claim against their employer if they are injured while working from home.

Whether you will be able to claim as a homeworker will depend on the circumstances of your accident, and the degree to which your employer owed you a duty of care.

An employer will not usually be held responsible for a work accident that occurs as the result of circumstances beyond their control, such as a slip or trip caused by a family member's negligence.

However, an employer is expected to conduct safety assessments as appropriate, and they may be responsible for a claim that arises from defective or inadequate equipment the employer has supplied or approved.

Do I have a work accident claim?

It should be possible to make a work accident claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 376 1001.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

How much compensation can I claim for a work accident?

The amount of money you could claim for your work accident will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your work accident has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a work accident? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Work accident compensation amounts

The following work accident payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Ankle injury
Minor injury with full recovery Up to £10,960
Full recovery or with mild ongoing symptoms £10,960 to £21,200
Arm injury
Fractured forearm £5,280 to £15,300
Serious injury with long-lasting effects £15,300 to £31,220
Back injury
Full recovery within 3 months Up to £1,950
Full recovery within 2 years £1,950 to £6,290
Eye injury
Temporary eye injury £1,760 to £3,150
Minor but permanent loss of vision in one or both eyes £7,270 to £16,720
Hand injury
Moderate hand injury £4,640 to £10,580
Minor hand, finger or thumb injury Up to £3,460
Knee injury
Minimal ongoing symptoms Up to £10,960
Mild long-term symptoms £11,820 to £20,880
Leg injury
Simple tibia or fibula fracture Up to £9,440
Leg fracture with partial recovery £14,320 to £22,130
Neck injury
Full recovery within 3 months Up to £1,950
Full recovery within 1 year £1,950 to £3,470
Shoulder injury
Soft tissue injury Up to £6,290
Fracture of clavicle £6,290 to £10,180
Wrist injury
Wrist fracture recovering within one year £2,810 to £3,790
Colles wrist fracture Around £5,920

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious arm injury can be £45,000

For a more minor hand injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £3,000.

However, if you have a serious arm injury and a more minor hand injury, you would typically receive £45,000 + a reduced percentage of £3,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for a work accident claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a work accident will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your work accident compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Calculate my work accident compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a work accident injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your work accident claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a work injury claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a work accident can vary considerably.

For example, if your employer accepts liability, a claim can settle in a matter of weeks. If liability is denied, however, a claim can take longer. Typically, a work accident claim takes 6 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your work accident claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Will I get advice on treatment options?

As part of the work accident claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc

How long after an accident can I make a claim?

A claim must usually be made within three years of the date of the injury.

After this time limit expires, the claim becomes 'statute barred', meaning (in most cases) you can no longer make a work injury claim.

In some cases, such as noise-induced deafness or exposure to hazardous materials, a claimant may not be immediately aware that an accident caused an injury or illness.

In these situations, the three-year time limit starts counting from the injured person's 'date of knowledge'.

Check my exact claim limitation date with our date calculator

To find out your precise claim limitation date, please use our Claim Time Limit Calculator.

How can I speed up my work accident claim?

There are steps you can take to speed up the process, such as responding to any solicitor questions as fast as possible and by quickly returning any paperwork.

See: What can I do to speed up my personal injury claim?

Industrial accident claims

In 2019/20, the HSE recorded 65,000 industrial accidents that resulted in major injury or death. These figures do not include minor injuries, so number of industrial accidents is likely to be significantly higher.

Anyone who has suffered an industrial accident may be eligible to make a work accident claim..

Can Quittance assist with an industrial accident claim?

Industrial accidents occur most frequently in industries that require manual labour or use dangerous machinery such as mining, construction, agriculture and manufacturing. However, employees in any sector may be involved in an industrial accident.

Our panel of solicitors has assisted with a wide range of industrial accident claims, including:

  • Manual and heavy lifting accidents
  • Dangerous machinery accidents
  • Hazardous substances accidents
  • Falls from height
  • Accidents involving workplace vehicles such as cherry-pickers, forklift truck and tractors.

Should I make a work injury compensation claim?

Badly injured claimants are usually ready to make a compensation claim against a negligent driver, or the local council for failing to maintain a pavement.

However, employees are sometimes reluctant to make an injury claim against their employer.

Why could an employee be reluctant to claim?

Employees often form close bonds with their employer. The boundaries between professional and personal relationships can be come blurred.

Some workers have concerns about being fired or even being unemployable as a result of making a claim. By law, employees cannot be discriminated against for making a claim.

Compensation is paid by insurers, not by the company itself, and many employers recognise how important it is to support an injured worker during their recovery.

Read more: Could I lose my job if I make a work accident claim?

Helping you move forward after an injury at work

Financial compensation may be necessary to support your treatment and recuperation. There are also other reasons to consider making a claim.

You and your family may be unable to meet your living costs (e.g. mortgage repayments) while you are unable to work.

Whatever the circumstances of your accident, speaking to a specialist solicitor at the earliest point can reduce the stress and financial burden of a work injury, so you can focus on your recovery.

Other ways a solicitor can help after a work accident

In addition to getting financial compensation for you, personal injury solicitors can assist in many other ways:

  • Get access to cutting-edge medical treatment, physiotherapy and prosthetics.
  • Get interim payments and claim benefits to cover your mortgage and living costs.
  • Plan for short- and long-term adjustments, including adaptations to your home.

No win, no fee

With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a work accident claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your work accident claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a work accident claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my work accident claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my work accident claim?

If your work accident claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Work Accident Claim FAQ's

Could I lose my job if I claim against my employer?

No, if you make a claim against your employer, you cannot be legally dismissed.

The law is clear on this point. If an employer tries to dismiss an employee or forces an employee to leave because they made a claim, there would be a case for unfair or constructive dismissal.

Read more: Could I lose my job if I make a work accident claim?

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. It may be possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on their behalf.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need to visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an interim compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of a work injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Can I claim if my employer has gone bust?

Yes. If your employer has ceased trading, you can usually still claim compensation for an injury that happened during your employment.

However, the claim may take considerably longer to process. This delay is due to the time it takes your solicitor to identify your ex-employer's insurance company at the time your injury occurred.

Read more about can claiming compensation if your employer has gone bust.

What if my employer's insurer has gone bust?

Even if both your employer and their insurer has gone out of business, you may still be able to make a claim for your work-related injury.

Read more about claiming for a work accident if the insurer has gone bust.

What if my accident didn't happen on my employer's premises?

If you were working at the time of the accident, it does not matter where the accident occurred. You can usually still make a claim.

What is the legislation relating to safety at work?

This legislation protects both employees generally and also workers exposed to particular risks. These rules include:

Read more FAQ's


  • Guidelines For The Assessment Of General Damages In Personal Injury Cases. Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain 2018. Health and Safety Executive, 2017.
  • Health and Safety at Work 2017. Health and Safety Executive, 2017.
  • Workplace Accident Statistics. Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 2018.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor