21 Nov 2022

Can I be Sacked for Having an Accident at Work?

After an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, you may feel a conflicting sense of loyalty to your employer contrasted by a rightful urge to pursue compensation for an altered future.

If the fault for the accident rests with the company that employs you, you are well within your rights, to begin a claim for personal injury compensation and, perhaps most importantly to note, it is against the law for an employer to sack you for doing this. 

Employees rights 

A standard policy for most injured or ill employees, you have the right to statutory or contractual sick pay for a period of absence of more than four consecutive days. This is the minimum requirement from companies but will vary based on who you work for and your job role. 

If you are claiming statutory sick pay, based on earning at least an average of £118 per week, you would be paid £94.25 for a period of up to 28 weeks. Your employer can’t withhold statutory sick pay because you are unable to work after an accident at work. 

If they attempt to sack you because of an accident at work, this can be classed as unfair dismissal, leading to a potential separate employment claim. 

Unfair dismissal 

The government website highlights many different ways in which a dismissal from work can be classed as unfair by law. These include: 

  • If your employer doesn’t have a good reason for dismissing you 
  • If the company doesn’t follow its own disciplinary or dismissal process 

Situations when your dismissal is likely to be unfair include if you were to do the following and then be sacked for it: 

  • Asked for flexible working 
  • Refused to give up rest breaks 
  • Resigned and gave the appropriate notice period 
  • Joined a trade union 
  • Took part in legal industrial action that lasted 12 weeks or less 
  • Needed time off for jury service 
  • Applied for maternity, paternity, and adoption leave 
  • Were on any maternity, paternity, and adoption leave that you were entitled to 
  • Exposed wrongdoing in the workplace 
  • Were forced to retire 
  • Tried to enforce your right to receive Working Tax Credits 

You can be fairly dismissed if your actions amount to misconduct or if you fail to hit the necessary capability targets potentially set in your role. Being in an accident at work is not a reason for being fairly dismissed.  

Returning to work after an accident 

If you have suffered long-lasting, potentially permanent, injuries following an accident at work, it is a requirement of your employer to cater for this and facilitate a return to work.  

They should seek to assist as much as possible by making reasonable adjustments, including, for example, installing a ramp, providing specialised equipment like an ergonomic chair, or providing a phased return to work, or offering an amended version of the role with altered hours. 

If you are dismissed on the grounds of your disability, because of an injury at work, the onus is on the company to prove why they couldn’t make any reasonable adjustments to help you return to work. 

Can you make a personal injury claim? 

The answer to this question is based on the circumstances of the accident and the cause of it, primarily. 

Essentially, if the accident was caused by your employer’s failure to implement a safety procedure, or a failure to provide suitable equipment for the task at hand then you may have the eligibility to make a claim should the incident – that wasn’t caused by you - lead to an injury.  

It is important to discuss your circumstances with the dedicated team at Winns, who specialise in these claims and can point to countless successful outcomes for clients injured at work.  

By having a no-obligation chat with one of our team, they will be able to assess your scenario quickly and provide appropriate advice as to the likelihood of a successful outcome. 

Steps to take after an accident at work 

In the aftermath of a work-based accident, it is important to report this to your employer as soon as can be done in the circumstances. This should be recorded in the site accident book (a company with more than 10 employees must have an accident book), or in another official format that denotes the circumstances of the accident in as much detail as possible. 

Check what has been recorded and ask to have sight of it so you can ensure you are happy with what has been officially recorded and nothing has been left out that may prove important in the future when attempting to identify accountability. 

As with any claim for personal injury compensation, having as much relevant evidence as possible from the outset will only improve the chances of a successful outcome. 

This includes a detailed written account from your perspective, pictures (if possible) of the reason for the accident – faulty equipment, uneven surface etc – and even drawings of the setting which may support your account of the accident.  

Gather witness statements from those who saw the accident unfold to support your claim and ensure medical treatment is started swiftly with a GP appointment.  

Why choose Winns? 

The team at Winn Solicitors has an experienced team of legal professionals who specialise in claims after an accident in the workplace.  

Having worked across a range of circumstances and scenarios, we appreciate that each case is unique and so we utilise our skills and experience to diligently drive your claim forward. 

Our service operates on a no win nofee basis, meaning no inhibitive upfront costs to pay and no surprise fees throughout the process.  

You have the assurance that any costs are taken from the final personal injury settlement and the percentage is fixed from the beginning, regardless of the duration and complexity of the claim. 

If you want to find out more about our accident at work claims service, click here to be taken to our information page. 

Don’t delay, get in touch today to discuss your circumstances. 

Call now 

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