Office injury compensation claims
In this guide we explain everything you must know about making a successful office accident compensation claim.
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.
If you have suffered an office injury in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
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.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Awards for the pain and suffering caused by an office accident injury are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards. These awards are established by reference to the nature and the severity of the injury and are laid out in the form of a maximum and minimum award for any given injury.
For example, the Judicial College recommends an award between £10,175 and £21,505 for a hip fracture that may lead to a hip replacement either now or in the future. A wrist injury that leaves residual mobility issues, pain or stiffness may be awarded up to £19,800.
The compensation award also covers loss of earnings and bonuses, the cost of medical treatment and any other expenses that may be incurred.
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.
Typically a no win no fee agreement (also called a Conditional Fee Agreement) is put in place between a claimant and a PI solicitor.
A no win no fee agreement is the terms and conditions under which the solicitor works for the claimant.
It sets out what the solicitors will do as well as how the solicitor is remunerated if the claim is won.
If you use our solicitors for your office accident compensation claim there are no additional charges , nothing to pay up-front and the peace of mind that you wont be financially out of pocket.
Meet the team
Our nationwide network of solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of work accident claim, including fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our lawyers are chosen for their specialist expertise and their winning track record.
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