19 October 2023

What to do after a workplace accident: guide for employees

Steve Hennegan Partner & Head of Personal Injury
Person bringing first aid kit to injured colleague

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident in the workplace, it can be difficult to know what to do. 

Here at Wilkin Chapman, we support employees who have experienced workplace accidents with care and diligence, ensuring you receive the right outcome.

In this guide, we provide the essential steps for employees to follow after a workplace accident occurs. 

Get immediate medical attention

This almost goes without saying, but when an accident happens your immediate priority will of course be to look after your health and wellbeing by getting medical attention.

There should be a designated first aider at your workplace who may be able to provide sufficient treatment using the first aid kit for minor injuries. 

For more serious injuries though, you may need someone to call for an ambulance or go to accident and emergency, accompanied by someone from work. Alternatively, you may need to see your GP soon after the accident occurs. Either way, the medical professional you see will be able to provide evidence of your injuries on your medical record. 

We can also possibly arrange and fund rehabilitation for you as part of a claim and get you back to work.

Report the accident

At this point, it may be appropriate to seek legal advice, particularly if the accident wasn’t your fault. Before you take any actions yourself, your solicitor will give you useful guidance and help you to build your case, ensuring you have fair access to justice and a satisfactory outcome.

It is also important that you let your employer know about your accident as soon as possible. You should report it to your direct line manager and also let your colleagues know that the accident has occurred to ensure the company does not try to deny it. 

Reporting your workplace accident not only acts as evidence of it occurring but can also help to ensure your employer makes the necessary changes to prevent a similar accident from happening again.

Your solicitor can help you with each of these steps.

Record the accident in the company accident book

For workplaces with ten or more employees, maintaining an accident book is a legal requirement. They should ensure that details of the accident are accurately recorded. 

If your workplace does not have an accident book, it is still best practice to record details of any accidents and pass these on to management or the HR department, under the guidance of your solicitor. 

Management may then need to report the accident to the Health and Safety Executive depending on its severity.

It is essential that an accurate description of how the accident occurred is entered into your work’s accident book or at least reported somewhere.

Collate evidence and witness statements

You should first note down all of the information relevant to the accident, including details of the build-up to the accident, the process and instructions that were used, and how the accident itself occurred. 

Secure the contact details of any witnesses and request them to provide written statements detailing their account of the incident. 

You should also ensure that evidence is preserved, such as photographs or CCTV videos, that may shed light on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

All of this information will be helpful in the event that you make a compensation claim or in case your employer blames you for any damage caused.

Discuss time off and sick pay

After a workplace injury, it’s only natural that you may need some time off afterwards to rest and recover.

Discuss this with your employer to ensure that everyone is on the same page and you are aware of your rights around sick pay. Your solicitor can help you to understand your rights and ensure you are properly supported by your employer.

Keep a record of your recovery and financial losses 

If you end up making a compensation claim, it is really handy to keep a record of any financial losses you incur and to document your injuries and recovery, and your solicitor will help with this. 

In your medical records you should include details of your symptoms and the healing process, along with the effects on everyday life and your medical treatment. 

Financial losses you incur can include things like lost work income, the cost of medication, expenses to travel to medical appointments, and even money you may have lost due to being unable to attend events or holidays. 

All of these details will be important to ensure that you make a compensation claim that recuperates all of your financial losses.

Make a compensation claim

If you’ve had an accident and sustained an injury at work, you may be able to claim compensation.

The best thing to do is contact a solicitor as soon as possible and they will guide you through the process of making a claim.

Many people are hesitant about claiming compensation against their employer, especially if they are on good terms or if they’re afraid of repercussions. However, employers are protected by liability insurance and raising the issue through proper legal channels can be critical in ensuring accidents aren’t repeated and the safety of your colleagues is improved.

It can also be a breach of employment law for you to be unfairly treated, dismissed, or otherwise discriminated against for whistleblowing and you cannot be sacked for making a personal injury claim against your employer. However, we would strongly recommend seeking early legal advice to ensure you are protected.

At Wilkin Chapman, our specialist employment team is here to support you with expert advice and assistance in ensuring employee safety every step of the way. Contact us to find out more.

Need help?

Contact Steve to discuss this further.

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