Fall at Work Compensation Claims
A fall from a height is one of the most common reasons for making fall at work compensation claims, but even slips trips and falls can result in successful fall at work compensation claims against employers. Provided that the accident was caused by the negligence of an employer and resulted in a personal injury being sustained, a fall at work claim can be made to recover compensation.
If you have been injured in a workplace fall and believe your employer could have prevented the accident, it is important you seek legal advice about claiming compensation. Making fall at work compensation claims can be highly complicated and all employer liability claims have potential to make working life uncomfortable. By using a personal injury solicitor to pursue a compensation claim for a fall at work, not only will a claim have a better chance of being successful, but possibly awkward workplace confrontations with employers can be avoided.
When Can Fall at Work Compensation Claims be Made?
The most serious workplace accidents are caused by a fall when working at a height. A fall from a height at work can be the reason for devastating injuries to be sustained and it is one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. However, even slips and trips can cause highly painful injuries to be sustained, including broken bones and even whiplash injuries. Whether a loved one has been killed in a fall at work, or you have sustained an injury falling down stairs or from a faulty office chair, you may be entitled to make fall at work compensation claims.
The most common reasons for making a fall at work claim are listed below. However no matter how a fall at work occurred, if it was due to negligence of an employer or somebody who had a duty of care for your health and safety at work you should be eligible to claim fall at work compensation.
- Falls from ladders and scaffolding
- Falls from machines
- Falls from vehicles
- Falls through a fragile roof
- Fall through an unguarded drop
- Fall caused by unsuitable equipment
- Slips, trips and falls
In order for fall at work compensation claims to be successful, it must be demonstrated that an employer has caused the accident due to negligence, and that there has been a failure in a duty of care to prevent the accident from occurring. Under the Work at Height Regulations (2005, 2007) an employer must ensure that appropriate health and safety equipment is provided to employees so that the risk of a fall from a height is reduced to the minimum level.
Training must be provided on health and safety in the workplace to allow employees to take appropriate safety measures. If training has not been provided, safety measures were not installed or maintained, an employer is in breach of health and safety regulations. If an injury is sustained due to a lack of regard for the safety of employees, fall at work compensation claims will be possible against the employer’s liability insurance policy.
According to the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act (1974) an employer is duty bound to ensure that hazards in the workplace are identified and steps are taken to reduce the risk to employees. Regular inspections must also be made to ensure that employees are not placed at an unacceptable risk. When an employer fails to follow government guidelines on health and safety and an employee is injured in a fall at work, the employer will be liable for any fall at work compensation claims which result.
Contributory Negligence and Fall at Work Compensation Claims
A fall at work compensation claim can be made provided that injuries were sustained due to employer negligence; however in certain circumstances the defence may seek to reduce the level of compensation which is awarded. The most common way that fall at work compensation claims are reduced is due to the contributory negligence of the victim. Contributory negligence is the term used for the role the victim had in the cause of the accident or the severity of the injuries which were sustained. It is important that the possibility that you contributed to your accident or injuries is considered before fall at work compensation claims are made, as the reduction in compensation may mean that a claim is not be worthwhile pursuing.
Fall at Work Compensation Claims and Problems with Employers
Making fall at work compensation claims against a current employer may be daunting for some employees. Employees may be fearful of repercussions, such as damaging a relationship with an employer, or even losing employment as a result of making a claim for compensation. Even though it is an employee’s legal right to claim compensation for a fall at work for which they were not to blame, many workers fear that their employment or job prospects may be placed in jeopardy as a direct result.
However the majority of employers understand the need for accident victims to make a claim for fall at work compensation to ensure that medical treatment costs can be met. They are often sympathetic, and would not want an employee to suffer financially for an accident which they were liable for.
Since all employers are required by law to purchase insurance to cover personal injury claims from staff, it is not the employer who personally has to pay fall at work compensation. Insurance premiums may rise as a result of a claim which some employers may be keen to avoid; however provided that fall at work compensation claims are handled professionally, there should not be any major repercussions for the accident victim.
Fall at Work Compensation Claims and Third Party Capture
If an employer is liable for an injury sustained in a fall at work, it is not unusual for the accident victim to be contacted by the employer’s insurance company directly. A settlement may be offered to the accident victim with a promise of early payment of fall at work compensation in exchange for accepting a low offer of compensation. Insurers can limit the compensation which they are liable for if an accident victim accepts an early offer of compensation without first seeking legal advice. This is termed third party capture, and is an increasingly common tactic used by insurance companies to limit compensation payments and increase company profits.
Successful fall at work compensation claims will see the insurance company liable to pay the claimants legal costs, and invariably see the insurer being order to pay much higher compensation awards. Early offers of compensation are rarely for the full entitlement to fall at work compensation, as no assessment of the consequences of your fall at work accident has been completed and it is not in the insurer’s best interest to offer the maximum possible award of compensation directly to an accident victim.
If you have been contacted by your employer’s insurance company and have been offered compensation for a fall at work, it is important that you seek legal advice before accepting. Once potential fall at work compensation claims are assessed, an informed decision can be made about whether an offer is fair, or it will be more beneficial for a legal claim for fall at work compensation to be pursued.
Fall at Work Compensation Claims – Summary
A personal injury solicitor should always be consulted for legal advice about making fall at work compensation claims. It is important that eligibility to claim for a fall at work is assessed, and that claimants are made aware of everything that fall at work compensation claims will entail. Before a claim for compensation is pursued, the claimant should be aware of the level of compensation that should be awarded, together with the likely chances of the claim succeeding. Only when the level of compensation has been accurately calculated by a personal injury solicitor and the chances of success determined, should the decision to make fall at work compensation claims be made.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.