Although it is a position no employee wishes to find themselves in, there are many reasons and scenarios why you may face the prospect of having to sue your employer.
In 2013/14 for example, some 1.2 million working people suffered an accident at work or a related illness. We speak to clients every day who have had an accident at work and are worried about whether they should pursue a claim against their employer.
Most are worried they will lose their job, or that they will be treated badly by an aggrieved boss or colleagues if they do.
We always advise clients that their employers are legally obliged to have Employers’ Liability Insurance which covers claims of this kind. This means that your claim is a claim on their insurance like any other. In the majority of cases the employer will have very little direct involvement with the claim.
It is also illegal for your employer to discriminate against you in any way for pursuing a claim for compensation. If they sack you or attempt to make your working life intolerable, you may be able to pursue them for unfair or even constructive dismissal.
Most employers are aware of the risks in treating staff unfairly and will avoid putting themselves in situations where they are exposing themselves to further legal action.
Of course some accidents at work result in injuries which are so serious offending their employer is the last thing on someone’s mind. We recently acted for a Sunderland man who was awarded a £4 million out of court settlement after falling from a roof at work resulting in catastrophic spinal injuries.
Thankfully for him he was able to turn to a locally based independent solicitor who was prepared to fight his corner. Not surprisingly the insurers disputed the claim but the Sweeney Miller team fought the case hard in court and successfully secured a large interim payment to allow the client buy and adapt a property to meet his needs.
Most importantly it meant he could move home to live with his family and get the support of a 24 hour care team.
Whether an injury is severe or relatively minor in comparison to the roof fall case, its effect on everyday life can be life changing in all sorts of ways. So if you have an accident contact a local independent solicitor for advice.
Lindsey Christie, Head of Personal Injury