A Guide to Claiming Dangerous Machinery Injury Compensation

In this guide we explain everything you should know about making a successful dangerous machinery compensation claim.

Introduction

The Health and Safety Executive reported that 1568 major injuries in 2013/14 involved contact with machinery.

Machinery at work is often inherently dangerous. Even equipment that is relatively safe to use can become dangerous if it is poorly maintained or mishandled. Regardless of the nature or state of the machinery used by staff, employers owe their workers a duty of care to maintain a safe work environment at all times.

Machine-related injuries are often severe and can have a significant impact on a person's life. These injuries can also permanently affect an individual's ability to work.

Quittance's network of solicitors work hard to recover compensation needed by employees injured in work accidents to fund essential treatment, living costs and future care and rehabilitation.

Do I have a dangerous machinery injury claim?

You should be able to make a dangerous machinery injury claim if the injury happened:

  • within the last three years and,
  • another person was to blame.

It may be that, for example, the accident happened more than 3 years ago, or that you were partly at fault. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

It only takes a minute to find out - speak to one of our experts on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will confirm whether you have a claim. You will be under no obligation to start a claim with Quittance.

Alternatively you can try 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.

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Typical dangerous machinery injuries

Missing or defective safety guards

Specific rules cover the safe guarding of dangerous machinery. Dangerous machinery will have been subjected to rigorous safety checks before it is considered safe for use.

Despite this, defective and unguarded machines cause accidents at work every day. In many cases, the accident is not caused by any defect in the machine itself but in the way it is maintained, used and guarded.

Where possible, employers must:

  • provide fixed guards to dangerous components, e.g. rotating blades and sharp edges
  • guard against the risk of injuries caused by debris thrown from the machinery
  • ensure machinery is stopped before workers can access designated danger zones
  • prioritise repairs, maintenance, risk assessment and training

Lathe injuries

Lathes are used in many workplaces and can be very dangerous if used by someone with inadequate training or not serviced frequently. The risk of accidents at work involving lathes is specifically recognised in legislation, lathes being a clear potential hazard to employees.

Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 confirms the following:

'(1) Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective-

(a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or

(b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone'.

This means that an employer has a duty of care to ensure that his employees are safe whilst using the machinery. An employer has a responsibility to maintain the lathe and take measures to avoid hazards, including:

  • Providing information and training on how to safely operate the machinery
  • Having clear and accessible stop controls
  • Having suitable guards to enclose dangerous parts of machinery and stock-bars
  • Enabling isolation from power source when exposure to dangerous parts is required e.g. maintenance work

Generally, the machine should be well maintained and in good working order. If these standards are not followed and an employee has an accident on the machine, such as getting their hand caught, then the employee may be entitled to make a personal injury claim.

Conveyor belt accidents

Employees who are using conveyor belts should be given training that facilitates their safe use. They should understand how to use the belt, and what to do if there is a malfunction.

Organisations that are responsible for staff using conveyor belts must:

  • provide suitable training to operators
  • ensure dangerous parts are not exposed, and protected by the use of guards or covers where needed

Whether you are an employee, customer, or site visitor, if you have been injured because of an accident involving a conveyor belt, you may be entitled to compensation.

Log splitter injuries

The HSE have investigated several incidences of people being injured by log splitters. According to the HSE, accidents involving log splitters or 'firewood processing machines' are often the result of a lack of training regarding their safe use, or inadequate protective equipment.

The Health and Safety Executive recently questioned the safety of firewood processing machines, and suggested that not all log splitters comply with the Machinery Directive (as implemented in the UK by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008).

Employers must also ensure that staff using log splitters understand how to do so in a manner that does not endanger their own safety, or that of others in the vicinity. A work accident claim may be made if an employer has failed in this duty.

Is my employer liable?

Employers have a strict duty to provide suitable equipment for their employees.

It is an employer's responsibility to ensure that all work machinery is safe to use, well-maintained and that staff are trained in its use.

The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 places a duty of care on employers to ensure that:

  • Safety measures are in place and enforced
  • Machines are safe and fit for purpose
  • Machines are used safely and correctly

These duties include:

  • Performing regular maintenance of machinery
  • Prioritising completion of essential repairs
  • Carrying out risk assessments to ensure machinery is operated safely during work processes
  • Training all staff using the machinery how to operate it safely and correctly
  • Providing suitable protective clothing, and ensuring this is always worn by staff when operating machinery

If an employer fails to implement these safety measures, they are in breach of their duty of care. They could be found to be negligent and liable to pay compensation for injuries caused.

How do I make a claim?

There are statutory time limitations for filing dangerous machinery claims. In the majority of cases, a claim must be started within three years of an accident.

If you are not sure whether you want to make a claim, a confidential consultation with a personal injury solicitor will give you valuable advice concerned medical treatment and the gathering of evidence.

Gathering evidence to support your claim

You can decide to proceed with your claim at a later date, if you wish, knowing that the evidence that will strengthen your claim is already collected.

One of the most important steps to take is to get a medical report. This will need to come from a qualified medical expert, but cannot be your GP. Your solicitor can advise further on this point.

The medical report will confirm the nature and extent of your injury, and will be one of the pieces of evidence needed to calculate your compensation.

Your solicitor will need to prove your injury was caused by the negligence of your employer. This may require specialist help, such as expert technicians to assess the safety of the machinery.

How much compensation can I claim for a dangerous machinery injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your dangerous machinery 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 dangerous machinery 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.

See a list of what you can claim for:

Examples of special damages include:

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

Find out what your claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.

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.

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Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your dangerous machinery injury case 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

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever if your claim is not successful.

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 claiming compensation for your dangerous machinery injury.

What do I pay if I win my dangerous machinery injury 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 dangerous machinery injury claim?

If your dangerous machinery injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.

Read more about No win, no fee

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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Dangerous Machinery 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 interim compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an 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.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert