Understanding Workers’ Compensation: A Guide for Employees

Workers in the UK enjoy a range of special protections from unscrupulous employers. Where an employer is found to have failed in their duty of care toward employees, they can be made to pay a legal remedy, which takes the form of compensation.

It’s essential that workers understand their rights under the law, and that employers understand their obligations. Having to pay compensation can be extremely damaging, not only to a business’s financial health but to its reputation.

Health and safety legislation in the UK dates back to the turn of the 19th century, and the introduction of the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802. Since then, the law has gotten more sophisticated, and workers have come to enjoy a number of new protections.

Types of Workplace Injuries Covered

Various types of workplace accidents might justify compensation for workers. If you slip and fall because of a trailing cable across the middle of a factory, for example, then you might be able to hold your employer responsible for the injury.

Illnesses contracted because of workplace activities might also be the responsibility of the employer: for example, if you are inhaling fumes all day, and not provided with protective equipment, you might be able to lodge a claim.

Your employer should have in place a mechanism for logging workplace accidents and reporting them. When the accident occurs, you should ask for it to be logged. That way, a record of the event can be cited when you come to make a claim.

You might wonder whether your accident is serious enough to be recorded. If the accident is serious enough that you’re prevented from working for several days, then it certainly qualifies.

Your employer owes a duty of care to all of its employees. If your injury could have been prevented by a competent employer, then the chances are good that you are entitled to compensation.

Benefits and Compensation

The compensation to which you are entitled will vary depending on your circumstances. It should typically cover all of the costs you’ve incurred as a result of the injury, as well as the ‘pain and suffering’ you have endured. Keeping records of hospital visits, pharmacy bills, and loss of earnings will help you to evidence your claim, which in turn will make it easier for your solicitor to agree a suitable level of compensation with your employer.

Typically, claims of this kind are pursued on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means that your solicitor will decide at the outset how likely the claim is to be successful, and assume the risk of failure on that basis. This setup means that you don’t need to fear being burdened by legal costs in the event of a failure.

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