Compensation for a Work Accident
Some estimates put the number of work accidents each year at over one million and so there is plenty of scope for compensation claims against employers, providing negligence can be proved. These accidents often result from faulty equipment or may be caused by a fellow employee causing some sort of obstruction that results in a fall. Since your employer is responsible for all employees, you have a claim in either case if you have suffered as a result of the accident - this may be physical suffering, financial loss or both.
Claiming compensation for work accidents is a relatively new practice, with employees previously often being admonished for their own carelessness. Now the increase in health and safety legislation and other regulations together with a change in attitudes means employees are more likely to claim if they have an accident at work. However, since employers do generally take accident prevention measures, the incidence of claims in the workplace is still less than accident claims in private life.
Despite the increase of compensation claims for accidents at work, people are often nevertheless worried about making a claim against their employer. This is understandable because people naturally fear that this could result in a poorer relationship with their employer, reduced opportunities and even the loss of their job.
Employees shouldn't worry about making a claim for several reasons. Firstly, any compensation that is paid will not come directly out of the company's bank account. Firms are legally obliged to have insurance cover for this sort of thing and therefore the absolute maximum amount they will have to pay is any excess written into the policy. Given the level of legislation these days and the attitudes that prevail, employers will almost certainly expect a compensation claim when an accident occurs where there is possible negligence. Indeed, they will probably be surprised if no claim results and so are unlikely to bear any personal grudge as the result of a claim.
There is legislation in place that prevents companies dismissing their employees simply because they brought a claim against them. If this occurs, therefore, you will have a claim for wrongful dismissal in addition to your compensation claim. And any reduced opportunities or advancement may be construed as constructive dismissal, which can amount to the same thing.
On a more positive note, any claim you make for compensation may at least spur your employer into making improvements that will mean the workplace is safer and future accidents are prevented. In the longer term, this will reduce the likelihood of future suffering and may actually save your employer money since other and possibly more expensive claims will be avoided.
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