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Reporting your accident at work and time limits for making a claim

accident-at-work

What should you and your employer be doing?

After an accident at work, filling in the right paperwork may not be the first thing on your mind.  However, getting the accident report right can be a crucial factor in a successful claim for damages.

Having records of your accident will be useful if you make a claim for compensation or if you need to claim benefits, including Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can have your accident recorded by reporting it at work and seeing a doctor.  It is also a good idea to:

  • take photos of your injury and whatever caused your accident (although make sure that you are not contravening employment rules by taking photographs in the workplace)
  • make sure you have contact details for anyone who witnessed your accident
  • make notes about your accident as soon as possible – you can include drawings if they will help show what happened
  • ask any witnesses to make notes and share them with you

If the company or organisation you reported your accident to has more than 10 employees, they must record it in an accident book. Even smaller organisations may still have one so it is important to check this has been done.  It is also vital that you agree with what is in the accident book.  If there is anything that is not correct or anything important that has not been included you should ask for the record to be amended or have a note placed on it to record that you do not agree with the contents.

The Accident Book is an essential document for employers and employees, who are required by law to record and report details of specified work-related injuries and accidents at work. From 1 October 2013 the revised Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) came into force. The law requires employers, and other people in charge of work premises, to report and keep records of:

  • work-related accidents which cause deaths
  • work-related accidents which cause certain serious injuries (reportable injuries)
  • diagnosed cases of certain industrial diseases; and
  • certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ (incidents with the potential to cause harm)

Further guidance on the reporting duties of an employer can be found on the HSE website.  We have certainly come across cases where employers have not reported accidents to the HSE or have not accurately reported an accident. For this reason, it is particularly important to keep your own records too.

Medical records can be another good source of information about an accident and it is therefore important that if you do attend on a doctor you make sure that you give an accurate account of the accident.  It may also be sensible to make sure that the doctor’s notes are accurate.  If you need to see a doctor straight away, you can find your local urgent care services on the NHS website.

How long do I have to bring my claim for personal injury?

The general rule for adults who are considering making a claim for personal injury compensation is that you have three years from the date of the accident or incident in which to bring a claim.  However, if it is an industrial disease or illness such as asbestosis, the three year period does not start running until you have ‘knowledge’ of the fact that you are suffering from a condition.  This is often determined as the date upon which a positive diagnosis was confirmed by a qualified doctor.

The time limits for a child under the age of 18 who suffers injury or illness as a result of an accident are slightly different. The three year time limit still applies, however, rather than having three years from the date of the accident in which to pursue a claim the law states that a ‘child’ has three years from the date of their 18th birthday. Their claim, therefore, must have either settled or court proceedings have been issued before the child/adult reaches their 21st birthday.

If a person dies as a result of their injuries within three years of the accident then the personal representative of the estate will have three years from the date of death to commence court proceedings.

If you need any advice on reporting an accident at work, how to make a claim or the time limits for submitting a claim please do not hesitate to contact one of our personal injury or medical negligence experts on:

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