An Introduction to Construction Accident Compensation
Inasmuch as the volume of construction injury compensation claims has fallen in recent years – due to tougher health and safety regulations as well as a general decline in the construction industry – when an accident occurs on a construction site which is due to a lack of care by somebody with responsibility for health and safety, and the accident results in an injury, it is just as important to ensure that the victim receives an appropriate construction injury compensation settlement as it has ever been.
This article aims to give a general overview of construction injury compensation in the UK and provide information that claimants should be aware of before making a claim for construction injury compensation when they have sustained an injury on a construction site through no fault of their own. However, it is no substitute for seeking professional legal advice from an experienced solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
Construction Injury Compensation in the UK
Despite the reduction in the number of construction injury compensation claims, those which still occur are still often of a serious nature. According to RIDDOR statistics for 2010, more fatal and serious injuries occur due to falls from height in the construction industry than in any other – even falls from heights of less than 2 metres. This is a remarkable statistic when less than 5 percent of the workforce is employed in the construction industry.
There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of construction injury claims in the UK which are attributable to prolonged use of power tools and machinery which requires repetitive actions. Conditions such as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and carpal tunnel syndrome are becoming more common as construction site workers work longer hours under more difficult conditions to complete projects within time and within budget.
Reporting a Construction Accident in the UK
As with all injuries in any industry, you first consideration should be for your health and well-being. In the most serious of accidents you will have been taken straight to hospital but, if you have sustained an injury in a construction site accident and not yet undergone a medical examination, you should make this your priority – irrespective of whether you intend making a construction injury claim for compensation or not.
Your doctor will record your injuries and – just as importantly – the cause of your injuries in your medical records. Your medical records will be used to support your claim for construction injury compensation as will a report written in your employer´s “Accident Report Book”. If you are in no condition to write an entry in the “Accident Report Book”, you should ask somebody to do this on your behalf, as the employer is obligated to report most types of construction site injuries to the Health Service Executive who may initiate their own health and safety inspection.
Qualifying for Construction Injury Compensation
Provided you have sustained a quantifiable injury which is attributable to negligence by somebody who owed you a duty of care, you will be eligible to claim for construction injury compensation. Regardless of whether you are a self-employed worker, a sub-contractor or an employee of the company or individual who has control of your work environment, you can make a construction injury claim for compensation when you have been injured due to somebody else´s lack of care.
Employers and persons of responsibility who fail to adhere to the Work at Height Regulations (2005) and other health and safety guidelines to reduce hazards on construction sites will be found liable in any construction injury compensation claim. These regulations not only apply to workers on a construction site but visitors to the site and even child trespassers – who may be entitled to make a claim for construction injury compensation if they are injured when attracted to play on an unsecured site.
Making Construction Injury Compensation Claims
It is advisable to engage the services of a construction injury compensation solicitor when intending to make a construction injury compensation claim. Dealing with site investigators, insurance companies and the Health and Safety Executive is difficult enough when you are in perfect health, but at a time when you are in a great deal of pain and possibly worried about your future financial security, it is better to have somebody familiar with the procedures on your side.
A solicitor will use all the available evidence to compile a letter of claim to the site´s representative and then handle the logistics and technicalities of proving your claim for construction injury compensation without, wherever possible, the need to go to court. Most importantly, a construction injury compensation solicitor will ensure that you receive your full entitlement to construction injury compensation.
How Much Construction Injury Compensation Will I Get?
Awards of construction injury compensation will vary considerably according to the extent and severity of the injury and your age, gender and general state of health prior to the accident. How much construction injury compensation you receive will also be influenced by the effect that your injury has on your quality of life, the financial costs you have incurred which are directly attributable to your injury and any quantifiable psychological injury – such as developing a fear of heights – which may affect you in the future.
How much construction injury compensation you receive can also be negatively influenced if it is considered that you contributed to your injuries by your own lack of care at the time of the accident that caused them, or if you failed to seek immediate medical attention and then suffered a deterioration in your condition as a result. Once a construction injury compensation solicitor has taken all these factors into account, he will advise you how much compensation you should be entitled to receive – an important fact to know should you be approached by an insurance company with an offer of early settlement.
Construction Injury Compensation and Insurance Companies
Once a report of your injury has been made, it is likely that an employer will have to inform his insurance company that a construction injury claim for compensation may be forthcoming. Due to the nature of construction injuries, and the value assigned to a claim for construction injury compensation, insurance companies are eager to limit how much construction injury compensation they have to pay out.
Therefore it is likely that you will be approached directly by an insurance company who will try to put pressure on you to accept an immediate offer of construction injury compensation. This attempted “third party capture” should be referred to your solicitor, who will negotiate on your behalf for a far more suitable resolution to your construction injury compensation claim.
No Win No Fee Construction Injury Compensation
In most cases, a claim for construction injury compensation in the UK is resolved quickly and satisfactorily. Consequently, construction injury compensation solicitors may offer to represent you on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. This form of legal representation means that, should your claim for construction injury compensation be unsuccessful, you will not owe your solicitor any legal fees. There may be other costs associated with your construction injury claim for compensation, but a solicitor would advise you if these are likely to apply during an initial consultation and assessment of your claim.
It cannot be stressed enough that speaking with a construction injury compensation solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity will be of great benefit to your claim for construction injury compensation. While important evidence of the cause of your injury still exists, and the memories of witnesses who saw your accident remain fresh, you have the best chance of receiving your maximum entitlement to construction injury compensation.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.