A Guide to Claiming Nightshift Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a night shift accident we can help.

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

Introduction

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:

  • Tiredness
  • 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 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.

How much compensation can I claim for a nightshift injury?

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

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 nightshift 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

What is the average injury compensation for a nightshift 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 nightshift injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your nightshift 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.

Nightshift injury compensation calculator

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

Calculate compensation

How long do I have to make a nightshift injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a nightshift 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 nightshift injury compensation.

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

Will I still be able to claim for a nightshift 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 nightshift 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 financial advice?

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your nightshift injury claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.

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.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

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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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.

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