A Guide to Claiming Dangerous Machinery Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a dangerous machinery work accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a dangerous machinery work accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

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?

It should be possible to make a dangerous machinery 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.

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.

What can I claim for after a dangerous machinery 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 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 severe arm injury can be £75,000

For a less serious leg injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,500.

However, if you have a severe arm injury and a less serious leg injury, you would typically receive £75,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,500.

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 dangerous machinery 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 dangerous machinery injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your dangerous machinery 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 dangerous machinery 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?

Dangerous machinery injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a dangerous machinery 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 dangerous machinery injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a dangerous machinery work injury claim take?

The length of time needed to win compensation for a dangerous machinery work accident can vary significantly.

For example, if your employer does not contest the claim, it could be settled in several weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take substantially longer. Normally a work accident claim will take 6 to 9 months. See:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a dangerous machinery 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 dangerous machinery 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.

Will I get advice on treatment options?

As part of the dangerous machinery injury 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

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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in personal injury law cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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:

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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 do I have to make a dangerous machinery injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the dangerous machinery injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your dangerous machinery injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a dangerous machinery 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 dangerous machinery injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a dangerous machinery injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

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.

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