A Guide to Claiming Office Injury Compensation

In this guide we explain everything you must know about making a successful office accident compensation claim.

Introduction

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.

Other office-related hazards include manual handling accidents, electric shock incidents and repetitive strain injury.

Office trip hazard

Do I have a office injury claim?

You should be able to make a office injury claim if you were injured:

  • within the last three years and,
  • another person was to blame.

It may be that, for example, the accident happened more than 3 years ago, or that you were partly at fault. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

It costs nothing to find out - speak to a legal expert on 0800 612 7456.

A short call will confirm whether you have a claim. You will never be pressured into making a 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.

Read more

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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 Lliability 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.

How much compensation can I claim for a office 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

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.

See a list of what you can claim for:

Examples of special damages include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • 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.

Calculate my injury claim

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your office 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.

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 a 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 a 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.

Read more about how no win, no fee works

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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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.

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 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.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

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