A Guide to Claiming Nightshift Injury Compensation
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
This guide sets out what you need to know about making a successful night shift accident compensation claim.
Studies suggest that some work-related accidents are three times more likely to occur on the night shift.
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.
Regularly working the night shift exposes people to all sorts of risks. A number of studies have found that night shift workers are up to three times more likely than their daytime colleagues to be involved in a serious accident at work.
Typical causes of night shift accidents
During the night, a person's heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature are decreased significantly as the body slows down in preparation for sleep. These changes are set by the body's internal sleep/wake regulator which is highly resistant to change. Most people will never fully adjust their body 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.
Do I have a nightshift injury claim?
It should be possible to make a nightshift injury claim if your injury happened:
- within the last three years and,
- another person was to blame.
However, if these two points don't apply, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.
Get impartial advice on whether you have a claim - you can speak to one of our experts on 0800 612 7456.
A short call will confirm whether you have a claim. We will not put you under pressure to make a compensation claim.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your nightshift 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 nightshift 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.
See a list of what you can claim for:
Examples of special damages include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- 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.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your nightshift 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.
How does no win, no fee work?
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a nightshift injury claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
No win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a nightshift injury compensation claim.
What do I pay if I win my nightshift 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 nightshift injury claim?
If your nightshift injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees.
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:Call me back
No Win, No Fee
to start a claim
Nightshift 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 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*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
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.
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 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.
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