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Industrial Injury Claims – Know Your Rights

23rd May 2011
By Jessica Parker in Personal Injury
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According to the Government’s Labour Force Survey 233,000 reportable injuries at work occurred in 2009/10. Many of these were industrial injuries – injuries sustained in an industrial working environment such as a factory, warehouse, or construction site.
This article outlines the legal rights of employees who have sustained an industrial injury, and the process of making industrial injury claims.

Your employer’s responsibilities

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequent regulations employers are required to take reasonable steps to provide their employees with a safe and healthy working environment.

This will clearly mean different things depending on the industry in question, but for most ‘industrial’ workplaces, this will involve things like making sure all equipment and machinery is regularly tested, and all employees are given the appropriate training and safety equipment for the type of work being carried out.

If the employer breaches their statutory duties and an employee is injured as a result, the injured employee may wish to claim compensation for their injuries. This compensation can cover lost wages if they have had to take time off work to recover and the cost of any medical treatment or physiotherapy needed.

Industrial injury claims can also help draw attention to the cause of injury, be it unsafe working practices, inadequate training, or unsafe machinery, and hopefully ensure no-one else suffers a similar injury.

What constitutes an industrial injury claim?

To be eligible to make an industrial injury claim, the accident that caused your injury must have been, at least partly, someone else’s fault. Secondly, the accident that caused your injury must have taken place within the last three years. There are certain exceptions to this rule – mainly around industrial diseases that become apparent some years after the negligent exposure. Examples include diseases arising from asbestos exposure such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, vibration white finger or industrial deafness. It is possible to bring an industrial injury claim against an employer that has ceased trading or gone out of business as the claim will usually be handled by the employer’s insurance company.

Some people who have suffered an industrial injury are concerned about the impact that making an industrial injury claim could have on their working life, and that they could even be fired. It’s important to remember it’s illegal for an employer to discipline or fire an employee for making a claim – this would amount to unfair dismissal and leave the employer open to further legal action.

What’s involved in making industrial injury claims?

The industrial injury claims process is similar to claiming compensation for any other personal injury.
The first step is to find the right solicitor to handle your claim. This will mean finding a reputable solicitor who has experience in industrial injury claims, and is based in your local area. Most solicitors will also be able to offer you a ‘no win no fee’ agreement, which means that if your claim is unsuccessful for some reason and compensation is not awarded, there is nothing to pay.

Your solicitor will build your case before contacting your employer. This will mean gathering the information and documents they need to prove that your employer was at fault, and could involve contacting witnesses and calculating any financial loss suffered because of the injury.

Industrial Accident Helpline specialise in industrial injury claims, finding the best personal injury solicitor to handle your claim from a nationwide network of trusted partner law firms. All solicitors can handle your industrial injury compensation claim on a no win no fee basis.
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