Tiredness Injury Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a tiredness injury we can help.

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

In our guide to claiming tiredness injury compensation:

Introduction

Tiredness, or fatigue, is estimated to cost the UK £115-£240 million per year for work accidents alone.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) data suggests tiredness is a factor in 20% of accidents on major roads, with many such accidents involving work-related travel.

Tiredness at work

Some industries are more susceptible to tiredness and fatigue. These include the emergency services, healthcare, transport, manufacturing (including oil, gas and chemical industries), the utilities, entertainment and retail.

Often work-related tiredness is related to poorly designed shift-working arrangements and long working hours, with a significant lack of breaks. Individuals whose jobs are machine-paced, complex or monotonous, and/or involve a heavy work load, are notably affected.

Night shift-related tiredness

According to the HSE, 3.5 million people are employed as shift workers in the UK. Amongst these, incidents of accident and injury related to tiredness are higher on night shifts and after a succession of shifts.

ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) also identify shift workers, as well as truck drivers and company drivers, as most likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Most accidents occur on motorways, at night and on journeys home after long shifts.

What are the dangers of fatigue at work?

Tiredness can not only lead to reduced productivity, but also to errors, accidents, injury and ill-health. Physically and mentally, tiredness and fatigue affects the body in a number of ways. This includes inducing:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Reduced ability to process information
  • Memory lapses
  • Absent-mindedness
  • Lack of attention
  • Decreased awareness
  • Underestimation of risk
  • Reduced co-ordination

In the workplace, the consequences of this can be extremely dangerous, particularly in certain environments, such as factories with hazardous machinery, hospitals and offshore chemical plants. The HSE has reported tiredness as a root cause of major accidents, including the Chernobyl disaster, the Clapham Junction train crash and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Injuries arising from tiredness

For the individuals involved in accidents induced by tiredness, the injuries can be significant. These can include anything from cuts and lacerations and burns and scalds, to serious head and back injuries. In addition, fatigue can lead to depression and long term sleep problems.

Seeking compensation can be an important step in recovery, and the financial assistance can help with a range of medical, social, psychological and financial losses.

What are the responsibilities of an employer?

Tiredness, like any other hazard, needs to be managed. It must be identified as a potential risk by an employer and controls implemented to ensure it does not become a danger. This legal responsibility falls under a range for UK legislation but primarily The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

All employers, but especially those involved in high-risk industries, should continually consider the implications of existing working practices on tiredness. For example, they should look at working hours, work load and the nature of the work.

If shift work is involved, they should consider all aspects which contribute to the risks, including the shift timing, breaks and the duration of each shift. If there are problems with overtime and shift-swapping they should look to improve allocation and staffing levels.

Employees must also ensure throughout their planning that they adhere to the provisions of the Working Time Regulations 1998 - irrespective of an employee's desire to work long hours. These stipulate that:

  • Employees should not work more than 48 hours a week (with opt out)
  • Employees cannot work for more than 6 hours without a break (of 15, 30 or 45 minutes depending on hours)
  • An adult employee is entitled to 11 hours rest between working periods
  • An adult worker is entitled to no less 1 day off in 7
  • Night workers should not work for more than 8 hours in 24

The rules are slightly different for drivers. They have a 9 hour daily driving limit and can work a maximum of 56 hours a week. They require a 45 minute break after 4.5 hours driving (which can be split into two periods).

On what grounds can a claim for tiredness-related injuries be made?

An individual may have grounds to claim for tiredness-related injury if they believe an employer has failed to adequately manage the risks associated with it, or has breached the legal working hours. In order for an employer to be found liable, negligence must be proven and substantiated with evidence.

Your solicitor can advise on what evidence will be required to give your claim the best chance of success.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

'No win, no fee' means that if your tiredness injury claim is not successful, you won't have to pay any legal fees. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a legal agreement entered into between you (the 'claimant') and your solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a tiredness injury claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my tiredness injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. 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 tiredness injury claim?

If your tiredness injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. 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.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury 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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Tiredness 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 do I have to make a tiredness injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a tiredness 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.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim tiredness injury compensation.

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

Calculate your claim limitation date

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.

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

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor