What are my rights if I was injured in an accident?

Solicitor explaining rights to a client

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you have the right to claim financial compensation from the party who is liable for your injury.

This article explains your legal rights in more detail and looks at how these rights apply, depending on how and where your accident occurred.

See also:

Read more:

Making a work accident compensation claim

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) injury claims

Do I have the right to make a personal injury claim?

With most injuries, generally speaking, you have the right to make a no win, no fee injury claim:

  • your injury must have happened in the last 3 years and
  • your injury must have been caused by another party and
  • that party must have owed you a duty of care.

Injured children have additional rights when making an injury claim:

  • a claim can be made on behalf of a child by a litigation friend at any point up to the child's 18th birthday and
  • the injured person then has a further 3-years, until the date of their 21st birthday, to start their own compensation claim.

The law on which these rights are based and the way in which they can be exercised will vary, depending on the context of the accident:

What are my rights if I was injured at work?

Your rights as an injured employee

All employers owe a legal duty of care to their employees. In general, your employer will be liable if you have been injured during the course of your work.

You have the right to a clean and safe working environment, suitable tools and PPE, and the right to appropriate training for any task you are expected to carry out.

If your employer failed in their duty of care to keep you as safe as reasonably possible, your employer would be held legally liable.

Even if you or another member of staff caused your injury, your employer will likely still be held liable under the legal principle of vicarious liability.

Your rights following an injury at work are extensive. These rights are intended to ensure that:

  • You receive any compensation to which you are entitled; and
  • Your employer cannot dismiss you for making a claim.

In addition, specific legislation exists to protect employees in specific industries, especially where workers are exposed to particular risks.

These laws include:

Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974

Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Manual Handling Regulations 1992

Work at Height Regulations (WAHR)

PPE at Work Regulations 1992

Your rights as an agency or temp worker

If you are employed through an agency, you have the same rights as a full time, direct employed employee of the company where you were working.

A work injury compensation claim would usually be made against the company where you were working when injured, rather than the agency that technically employed you.

If, however, the agency has more control and responsibility over your job, such as by providing training or equipment, the agency may be liable.

Read more:

Agency worker compensation claims.

Your rights as a self employed worker

Many self-employed people work on premises owned or operated by another party. Examples include self-employed electricians or plumbers working on a building site.

If you are self-employed and have been injured as a result of the negligence of the operator of the premises where you were working, you may still have grounds for a work accident claim.

Read more:

Self-employed worker injury claims

Your rights as a zero-hours contract worker

Regardless of the type of contract you are on, you still have the right to a legal duty of care from your employer.

If your working conditions are unsafe in any way and you are injured as a result, you have the right to claim compensation - even if you are on a zero-hours contract.

Read more:

Zero-hours contract worker injury claims

Your rights as a homeworker

Under The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999, employers’ duty of care for the health, safety and wellbeing of home workers is exactly the same as it is for office-based staff.

In short, home working employees have exactly the same employee rights as their office based counterparts.

Whether you will be able to claim as a homeworker will depend on the circumstances of your accident.

An employer will not usually be held responsible for an accident that occurred as the result of circumstances beyond their control, such as a slip or trip caused by a family member's negligence.

However, an employer is expected to conduct safety assessments as appropriate, highlight and minimise any risks and provide suitable training and PPE. The employer may also be responsible for a claim that arises from defective or inadequate equipment the employer has supplied or approved.

What are my rights if I was injured in a road accident?

All road users have a right to a duty of care from all other road users. If you have been injured as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist and another party was at fault, you have the right to make a compensation claim.

If the other road user is uninsured or untraceable, you have the right to make a claim through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).

To read more about the legislation that sets out your rights as a road user, see:

Highways Act 1980

Road Traffic Act 1988

Read more:

Making a road accident compensation claim.

What are my rights if injured if I was injured in a public place?

Claims for accidents in public places are referred to as Public liability Claims or Occupiers Liability Claims. These terms refer to the fact that there is a company, public body or other party who is the owner or occupier of the place.

You have a legal right to a duty of care from the owner or occupier of a public place. If you were injured as a result of a breach in this duty of care, you have a right to claim compensation.

What are my rights if injured if I was injured during a negligent medical procedure?

When you undergo a medical treatment, as a patient you have rights that must be adhered to by the medical professional.
Principal amongst these rights is your right to a duty of care from the medical professional.

As an NHS patient, your rights are set out in the NHS constitution. As a private patient your rights will be set out in various general and specialist professional codes including the General Medical Council's Code of Conduct.

Clinical negligence (also referred to as 'medical negligence') is when there has been a breach of this duty of care on the part of a healthcare professional.

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.

Read more:

Making a medical negligence claim

My rights to compensation - how much can I claim?

The amount of compensation you have a right to receive 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 work accident has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA). Awards for general damages are set by the The Judicial College and published as the 'Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases'.

Special damages

You also have a right to receive compensation for any financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. This type of compensation is known as 'special damages'.

What happened?

Claiming compensation depends on the circumstances of your injury. Click the icons below for read more:

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Chris Salmon, Director

Chris Salmon, Director