A Guide to Claiming Office Injury Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an office accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an office accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
Slip, trip and fall claims are the most common category of work accident claims in offices. Slip and trip accidents injured 21,585 workers in 2013/2014 according to figures released by the Health and Safety Executive, accounting for over one-third (35%) of employee injuries.
Do I have an office injury claim?
It should be possible to make an office 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 causes of office accidents
Slips trips and falls in the office are typically caused by everyday workplace hazards, such as:
- cables from electrical equipment that have not been secured safely
- files, boxes or other objects left lying on the floor
- damaged carpets
- spillages on hard floors.
Slip, trip and fall accidents may result in sprains, cuts, bruises and fractures. 95% of serious trip and fall accidents result in broken bones.
Electric shock and burn injuries are also common in the workplace. These are typically caused by faulty electrical devices, such computers, printers and kettles.
Compensation is calculated based on the injuries that are sustained and the impact these injuries have had on a claimant's life, rather than the context or cause of the injury. For the purposes of an injury claim, the cause of the injury does matter, however. It must be shown that an office accident was the cause of the injuries, and that the accident itself was caused by another party's act or negligence.
Accidents at office workstations
Office accidents may also occur in less obvious situations. For example, a poorly organised work area that is not ergonomically sound may cause or exacerbate a back injury, while a keyboard that does not provide wrist support may cause or exacerbate a wrist injury. Poorly illuminated offices and high-glare computer screens are known to cause vision problems in some workers.
Many workstation accidents manifest as a type of repetitive strain injury, a muscle impairment injury caused by the continuous performance of a repetitive action such as typing. Repetitive work practices that put pressure on joints, such as resting on the elbows for a continuous period, may also cause tendonitis or bursitis.
Each of these situations may result in an office accident compensation claim.
Who can make a claim?
If an office worker was injured in the last three years as a result of an office accident or poor working practices, he or she may be eligible to claim compensation.
Claiming against your employer
Claims are brought against the employer or their insurance company, even if the accident was the fault of a co-worker.
By law, all employers must carry Employer's Liability Insurance, a special type of insurance that pays compensation to employees who are injured in the workplace. It is usually the employer's insurance company who would pay compensation.
Is my employer liable?
Employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are not put in harm's way. By law, they must take reasonable steps to ensure that their work environment conforms with safety requirements. As part of this obligation, an employer must:
- carry out a risk assessment to identify potential hazards in the workplace
- eliminate any risks that can be eliminated, such as installing cable tidies to remove the risk of trips and falls
- provide safety equipment where necessary
- train staff on safe working practices.
To win a claim, the claimant's solicitor will need to prove that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to keep the premises safe and protect people from injury. Negligence is almost always established where the employer has breached a specific health and safety rule.
It may be possible to claim for existing injuries that have worsened as a result of an office accident. For example, an employee with epilepsy may make a claim if they are forced to sit too close to a bright computer screen for long periods, and their condition is made worse. Read more about making a claim for an existing condition.
Office 'clean as you go' policies
Clean as you go is identified as a health and safety best practice. Members of staff are trained to actively look for potential workplace hazards during their ordinary duties and take immediate action to remove any danger. This may include removing waste to bins, cleaning up spills and generally keeping workstations in a safe and hygienic condition.
Employers who enforce a proactive clean as you go policy may be able to mount a successful defence to an office accident claim. These policies demonstrate that the employer takes employee safety seriously and is taking reasonable steps to protect workers from injury.
The amount of money you could claim for your office 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 office 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.
What can I claim for after an office injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple office 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.
General damages for a more serious back injury can be £25,000
For a more minor wrist injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £2,900.
However, if you have a more serious back injury and a more minor wrist injury, you would typically receive £25,000 + a reduced percentage of £2,900.
Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.
What is the average injury compensation for an office 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 an office injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your office 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.
Will I have to pay tax on my office injury compensation?
If you receive financial compensation following an office injury injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.
Office injury compensation calculator
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an office 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 office injury claim could be worth now:
How long does an office injury claim take?
The length of time needed to win compensation for an office accident can vary considerably.
If your employer or their insurance company accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a few weeks. If the employer denies liability, it could take significantly longer. Usually, a work accident claim should take 6 to 9 months. See more:How long will my claim take?
Will I still be able to claim for an office 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 office 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.
Who pays for this specialist help?
The cost of treatment will be factored into your compensation settlement paid by the defendant or their insurance company. Should you require private treatment before the case settles, an interim payment to cover treatment costs may be possible.
What to do after an accident
If the employer admits responsibility for the office accident, the chances of a successful claim are very high.
There are a number of things that can be done to help build a strong case:
- report the accident
- record the incident in the accident log book
- take photographs of the scene of the accident
- record the name and address of any witnesses to the accident
- if necessary, report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive or check the employer has done so.
No win, no fee, no risk
No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making an office injury claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
No win, no fee promise
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an office injury compensation claim.
What do I pay if I win my office injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. 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 office injury claim?
If your office 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.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a 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?
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:Call me back
if you can claim
to start a claim
Office 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 do I have to make an office injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the office injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your office injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an office 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 office injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an office injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.
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 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.
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