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Accidents at Work - Two Minute Guide

If an employee is injured in an accident at work, it may be possible to claim damages against their employer.

An employer can be liable for damages if it is shown they failed to take reasonable care to prevent injury to employees. Employers owe a duty of care to their employees and must provide a safe working environment, safe work premises and suitable materials, safe work equipment and personal protective equipment. A claim must normally be made within three years of the accident.

In some circumstances, an employer can be held strictly liable in law for an injury. In other cases, it is for the claimant to show that the employer was negligent in some way.

Employers can use a defence of 'contributory negligence' if the injury was at least partially caused by the employee’s negligence. An example might be where an employee suffers back problems after ignoring the employer’s training on how to lift heavy objects safely. Damages will be reduced to reflect the share of the employee’s responsibility for the accident. Employers are required by law to have Employers Liability Insurance in place, so normally the insurance company will pay out damages due.

Complex claims will take longer to resolve than straightforward ones and where, for example, there is a dispute over contributory negligence.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.