If a night shift injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a night shift accident, we can help. If your injuries were caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a work accident compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
The number of night workers in the UK has been steadily increasing over the last two decades, with around 14% of the working population (3.6 million people) now working shifts that include night work most of the time.
The shift towards a 24-hour society means that many night workers have jobs that are not traditionally associated with round-the-clock operations, such as supermarket assistants and call centre operators.
The latest data available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) indicates that there were over 561,000 non-fatal work injuries in 2022/23.
Studies show that some work-related accidents are three times more likely to occur on the night shift.. The HSE report accidents and injuries to be higher on night shifts, especially after long or successive shifts.
If you decide to make a night shift injury claim, your work accident solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Typical causes of night shift accidents
During the night, a person's heart rate, blood pressure and temperature are decreased significantly as the slows down in preparation for sleep. These changes are set by the 's internal sleep/wake regulator which is highly resistant to change. Most people will never fully adjust their clock to the point where they are able to operate to their maximum potential at night.
Workers whose jobs involve night work or irregular shift patterns are known to experience several side effects, including:
- Decreased concentration
- Lack of judgement
- Reduced hand-eye coordination
- Poorer reaction time
- Lower overall cognitive performance.
These factors place them at risk of an accident at work. Night shift accidents are especially common in jobs that require extreme focus, such as driving or working with machinery.
Who is most at risk?
The risk of night shift accidents and injuries has been found to increase:
- Where the shift is over eight hours in length
- When a person works consecutive nights
- When periods between breaks on a night shift grow longer.
In other words, poorly designed work schedules can increase the risk of a night shift accident.
What are my employer's obligations?
Employers must meet certain obligations for health and safety in regard to night working arrangements. The primary legislation is the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). WTR limits the number of night-time hours that may be worked to 8 hours in each 24-hour period, averaged over 17 weeks.
WTR also gives night workers the same rights as daytime workers with regard to days off, rest periods and breaks.
However, complying with WTR may not in itself be enough to prevent tiredness and error. Employers must also comply with their general duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to:
- Protect the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees
- Assess the risks to employees from work activities and take all reasonable steps to eliminate or control these risks.
This includes the number of hours worked and how these hours are scheduled.
If there is strong evidence to show a link between an employee's work schedule, their fatigue levels and the accident, then a claim for compensation may be brought against the employee.
Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force on 6 April 2022.
This legislation means that employers have an obligation to provide free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all workers, including workers who are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract.
Under the previous 1992 regulations, employers were only required to provide PPE to employees with a formal employment contract.
The appropriate PPE will depend on the job you are doing and should be identified as part of comprehensive and regular risk assessments. It would not be acceptable to rely on a risk assessment carried out for the same role carried out in the day.
If you are injured when working on a night shift at work and your employer failed to provide you with suitable PPE, you may be entitled to claim compensation - even if you are self-employed.
Do I qualify for night shift injury compensation?
You will usually be eligible to claim compensation if you have been injured in the following circumstances:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- another person or organisation was to blame, and;
- they owed you duty of care.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
My injury was partly my fault - can I still claim?
Cases where the defendant and claimant are both partly to blame are actually quite commonplace in personal injury claims.
In our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers believed they were partly responsible for their injuries, or were uncertain.
If you believe you were partly responsible, you may still have a claim. Even if an employee's mistake caused the accident, your employer would usually be liable, so you can still claim compensation.
How much compensation can I claim for a night shift injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Night shift injury
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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 because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, damage to clothing or training equipment, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as pain medication and sleep therapy.
Psychological trauma following work accidents
In addition to physical injuries, a work accident can inflict lasting psychological harm.
Our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey reveals the extent of psychological trauma, with 25.03% of claims involving a psychological injury, 62.38% of which related to a physical injury.
Injuries during night shifts may exacerbate sleep disorders and cause anxiety related to working in more solitary, vulnerable conditions. Serious trauma can lead to nyctophobia (fear of the night) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Even after your physical recovery or rehabiliation is complete, hidden psychological injuries can take longer to heal.
Factoring compensation for psychological harm will ensure you receive mental health support and other therapies that may not be readily available on the NHS in your area.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Employers' liability claims claims
Work accident claims, or employers' liability claims, differ from other types of claim. Click on the icons below to read more about claiming:
How we can help you with your work accident claim
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.
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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.