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.

Introduction

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.

Scaffolding

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.

What if the injury was diagnosed years after the event?

Typically, the dates of the injury and accident are the same. However, some injuries manifest themselves months or even years after the accident or exposure.

In this case, the clock starts ticking on the date of discovery (the date of diagnosis) of the injury rather than the date of the accident.

Read more

What if the employer has gone bust?

Even if an employer or their insurer has gone out of business, a former worker may still be able to make a work-related accident claim.

Employers are legally required to carry Employer's Liability Insurance. This insurance ensures that protection is in place for employees affected by work-related accidents or industrial disease. The majority of successful claims are not paid out by the employer but by the employer's insurance company.

In extreme cases, where an employer and their insurer have both ceased trading, and no other responsible party can be traced, compensation may still be available through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Read more: Can I claim compensation if my employer has gone bust?

Can I claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a non-contributory, no-fault weekly benefit paid to workers and former workers who become disabled because of an accident at work or due to certain industrial diseases.

Anyone who has sustained a disability as a result of injuries or diseases arising from work may be eligible to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Read more

What if the other party denies liability?

If the defendant denies liability, your solicitor will build the strongest possible case in order to prove that the defendant is responsible for your building site injury. Ultimately the solicitor will issue court proceedings on the defendant. Often this prompts an admission of liability before proceedings begin.

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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;
  • Electrocution;
  • 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;
  • Burns;
  • Fractures;
  • 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.

    Our panel of expert claims solicitors 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.

    How much compensation can I claim for a building site injury?

    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

    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 building site injury? (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

    How is compensation calculated if I have multiple building site injury 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 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.

    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.

    Find out what your building site injury claim could be worth now

    Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.

    If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

    Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

    I can't find my injury in the table, can I still claim?

    The table is a list of the most common injuries associated with a building site injury claim. You can see the full list of injury awards here: Judicial College Injury Tables.

    Calculate my claim

    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?

    The general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a building site injury.

    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 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.

    How did your injury occur?

    The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

    At work

    If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

    Work Accident Claims - What you need to know

    In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)

    If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:

    Public Place Claims - What you need to know

    Other claim types

    Find details on another type of claim:

    See list of other claims

    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.

    Read more about No win, no fee

    Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

    How can Quittance help?

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

    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:

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    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.

    Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

    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.

    Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

    How long will my claim take?

    The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

    For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

    Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

    Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

    Personal injury claim type

    Estimated claim duration*

    Road accident claims

    4 to 9 months

    Work accident claims

    6 to 9 months

    Medical negligence claims

    12 to 36 months

    Industrial disease claims

    12 to 18 months

    Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

    6 to 9 months

    MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

    3 to 4 months**

    CICA claims (criminal assault)

    12 to 18 months**

    *RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
    **Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

    Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

    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 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 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.

    Read more about interim compensation payments.

    Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

    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