A Guide to Claiming Building Site Injury Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a building site accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a building site accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
Construction sites are inherently dangerous places to work, and these dangers are reflected in the official workplace accident statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive ('HSE').
Although only around 5% of the UK workforce is employed in the construction industry, 32% of all fatal workplace accidents occurred in that sector in 2013/14. Likewise, the construction sector accounts for a disproportionately high number of workers who sustain serious injuries in the course of their work.
A person may be able to claim compensation if he or she sustains personal injury on a building site due to someone else's negligence.
Do I have a building site injury claim?
It should be possible to make a building site injury 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 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
Health and Safety legislation
A strict legislative framework governs health and safety on building sites. This includes the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, which covers both the design and operation of construction sites.
The HSE is responsible for overseeing and enforcing workplace safety regulation. The duties of HSE officers include:
- Conducting site inspections;
- Issuing guidance to construction site operators; and
- Bringing prosecutions against those who breach workplace safety regulations*
The HSE does not, however, bring or handle claims for compensation made by persons injured on a building site.
*Except in Scotland, where the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is responsible for bringing prosecutions.
Typical building site accidents
Workers on construction sites are at risk from sustaining injury from a variety of causes, including:
- Falls from scaffolding or ladders;
- Falling down a hole or shaft or falling on uneven or dangerous ground;
- Being struck by falling objects, such as tools or masonry;
- Faulty or defective machinery;
- Lifting and handling heavy or awkward loads; and
- Being struck by a vehicle.
In 2013/14, falls from height were responsible for over 30% of the most serious injuries (including fatal injuries) to construction workers. The most common overall causes of injuries on a construction site are, however, lifting and handling accidents.
The variety of hazards present on a building site can give rise to a large number of different types of injury, including:
- Back and neck injuries;
- Amputation of a hand or finger(s); and
- Head injuries.
Injuries to visitors
Although most people injured on construction sites are employees or contractors of the site operator, injuries to visitors are also fairly commonplace. These can include serious or even fatal injuries. In the ten years up to and including 2013/14, 46 visitors to UK construction sites were killed in accidents.
Many of the health and safety regulations which apply to workplaces do not cover visitors. However, visitors to a workplace, including a building site, are still covered by both the common law and by legislation such as the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and, in Scotland, the Occupiers Liability (Scotland) Act 1960
What to do if you have been injured
It does not matter whether you are an employee, contractor or visitor, you may well be able to claim compensation if you were injured on a building site in an accident that was not your fault.
We can guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Call us on 0800 612 7456 or arrange a call back at a time that suits you.
The amount of money you could claim for your building site injury 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 building site injury 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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a building site injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
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.
General damages for a life-altering back injury can be £65,000
For a minor arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.
However, if you have a life-altering back injury and a minor arm injury, you would typically receive £65,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.
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 building site injury 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 building site injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your building site injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a building site injury injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Building site injury compensation calculator
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a building site 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 building site injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a building site injury claim take?
The length of time needed to get compensation for a building site accident can vary considerably.
For example, if liability is accepted by your employer, a claim might be concluded in a couple of months. If liability is denied, however, the process might take considerably longer. On average a work accident claim takes between 6 and 9 months. See:How long will my claim take?
Will I still be able to claim for a building site injury after the law changes in April 2020?
The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.
You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).
In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your building site injury 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.
No win, no fee - the facts
With a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a building site injury claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your building site injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
Our no win, no fee promise
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a building site injury compensation claim.
What do I pay if I win my building site injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my building site injury claim?
If your building site injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your building site injury claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, 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 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Building site injury FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is 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 behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make a building site injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the building site injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your building site injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a building site injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim building site injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a building site injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the 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.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need 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.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
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.
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert