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Accidents at Work: An introduction to claiming compensation

“Thompsons service was fantastic from start to finish… they were really thorough and determined in pursuing the best settlement they could get for me. They fought and fought.” Roger

“The whole experience with Thompsons was completely different to the other solicitors. They treated me like a person. They were sympathetic and understood I was going through a bad time.” Ruth

Ruth suffered excruciating pain after suffering accidental knee damage and had bone, hamstring and tendon grafts. She claimed compensation with Thompsons Solicitors after initially contacting a firm of solicitors she had seen advertising on TV.

Workplace accidents change lives

The latest statistics for workplace accidents make grim reading. A staggering 5.1million days were lost due to workplace injury in 2009/10.

Even more shockingly 152 people were killed in workplace accidents in the same year. (Source: Health and Safety Executive.)

Some workplace injuries can have a short yet powerful impact on day to day life. The damage done by other injuries can last a lifetime.

Work accidents can affect victims’ families, too. It can be a very real struggle to provide the care and support needed. And at the same time there can often be difficult new financial burdens.

The prospect is daunting and it’s no surprise that many victims and their families hardly know which way to turn.

Successfully claiming for compensation can help with all of this. And it can also help contribute to safety issues being remedied – preventing others from suffering the same accident in the future.

This booklet is a brief guide to how Thompsons can help you pursue a claim.

Experience Counts!

Why you should use the most experienced injury law firm in Britain.

Thompsons has been established for over 90 years. We use that experience to ensure that clients get the right amount of compensation in every claim, which has resulted in several record settlements over the years.

Simply phone 08000 224 224.

Your workplace and Accidents

Thompsons Solicitors are proud to work with the leading trade unions to promote health and safety in the workplace.

All employers have a responsibility to protect their employees, contractors and visitors from accidents and injuries.

This includes ensuring that:

  • They provide their employees with the necessary machinery and tools to complete their jobs and that they are maintained in a safe condition.
  • The workplace is kept in a safe and tidy condition. Employees should be provided with suitable workstations and chairs and the floor and corridors should be clean and free from hazards. Doors and gates should not be obstructed.
  • Employees are provided with equipment to lift heavy objects but if that is not possible then risk assessments should be carried out and training given to show them how to lift safely.
  • All employers are provided with any safety wear they need to complete their jobs - such as goggles, hard hats, ear defenders, dust masks, gloves, boots or high-visibility jackets.

Four important points for you to consider

1. Get the best evidence to help your claim

To make a successful claim for compensation it has to be proved that your employer - or someone on the premises your employer was responsible for - was to blame for your accident. This can include another member of staff.

As soon as possible following the accident you should report it to a manager and your Health and Safety rep and put the details in the work accident book. The sooner you do this, the easier it is to gather evidence. And the stronger your evidence, the stronger your claim.

You should write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who was involved in your accident or witnessed it. And you should seek medical attention and treatment either at a hospital or from your local GP as soon as possible following your accident. Trauma can mask the pain of some injuries – so make sure you are properly examined even if you feel ok.

It may also be helpful if you have any photographs relevant to the accident or your injuries such as the location of the accident.

2. Timing can be vital

You should also seek legal advice as soon as possible after your accident. Though there are exceptions, court proceedings usually need to be started within three years of the date of the accident.

As far as Thompsons is concerned the more time you have in hand, the more thoroughly we can prepare your claim.

3. How much compensation might be awarded?

Compensation is awarded for pain, suffering and the inability to do things now that you could do before the accident. For example the inability to work, to drive, to shop, to play sport, to care for yourself.

Such consequences can last days, weeks or months or even for life. In some cases, people may never be able to resume their normal activities.

You are also entitled to recover any loss of earnings and expenditure you pay out as a result of your injuries.

These include the need to pay others to do things you could previously do yourself. And travel costs to and from your doctors and hospitals, and prescription charges. You can also claim for future losses and for any rehabilitation or care needs.

4. What about state benefit claims?

You may be entitled to disablement benefit and/or other State Benefits. Thompsons can advise you on this as, of course, can your local Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) office.

Any such claims are made separately to your claim for compensation. The phone number of the DWP benefit enquiry freephone is below, along with other helpful numbers.

“Overall, I felt I was really well handled by Thompsons … They were all very professional, hard working and dedicated and I was pleased with the settlement.”

Ian

“I lost part of my right leg from below the knee in a factory accident. The pain was agonising at the time. And I still suffer phantom limb pain…

My employer put me onto a firm that was supposed to look after me after the accident but they were useless.

And it was beginning to be obvious I was not going to be able to work in the future in the ways I had in the past.

I was also going to need extensive physio help and long term care.

My sister and I decided to see if I might claim for compensation and went online to look at law firms that handled personal injury claims.

Thompsons Solicitors stood out as they seemed to have more senior litigators and they had an office near where I live.

We phoned them first and had a chat. Then they came to see us and explained everything involved very thoroughly.

I was seen by an impressive cross section of experts brought in by Thompsons - both as part of building my case and also, in some instances, as part of providing practical help. For example, I met the people at a firm who make prosthetic limbs to a far higher standard than you get on the NHS.

I also saw a psychologist and had some counselling sessions, a physio, a specialist in orthopaedics and people who advised on home alterations to help with my condition. Costs had to be estimated for all this and more.

Overall, I felt I was really well handled by Thompsons. Their team were tremendous, first class.

They were all very professional, hard working and dedicated and I was pleased with the settlement.

I had been a keen golfer…But after the accident it seemed like I might never play again. However, I have really worked at this…I’m getting my handicap back down and have booked to go and play in Portugal again in a few months time.

I want to work again in some way, possibly in the voluntary sector ... and I am attracted to the idea of being a car ambulance driver. I see that as triumphing over my condition”

Ian

“Thompsons Solicitors…. were brilliant right from day one! And the whole case was all done quicker than we thought it would be!” Maisey, Patrick’s mum

“I was absolutely devastated when my son, Patrick, had his accident. He was badly brain damaged when a gantry he was working from collapsed and I was told he was unlikely to survive.

Only a few years earlier I had lost my husband - and now I was facing the loss of my only child.

I was also extremely angry to learn the gantry had collapsed because the wrong bolts were used to secure it. But I never say “never” and thank goodness Patrick regained consciousness, although he was unable to speak. In fact, he was to spend the best part of the next four years in hospital and rehab.

Even though improvement was hoped for it was very clear Patrick was going to need lifelong care and remedial therapies and a home specially adapted to his condition.

The costs of all this were hopelessly beyond my reach. I had already had to give up my work to help look after him, even before he came home.

I met Thompsons Solicitors to discuss claiming for compensation on Patrick’s behalf and see what other help I could get and they were brilliant right from day one!

They explained everything ... we got an interim payment quite quickly which enabled the purchase and adapting of a bungalow to suit Patrick’s needs before he was discharged from the hospital.

And the whole case was all done quicker than we thought it would be! Thompsons kept in touch all the time, brought in various specialists and experts, and were very thorough in assessing the present and future costs of care for Patrick.

I was very happy with the settlement and I’ve got detailed accounts covering the next 40 years!

It’s now five years since the accident and Patrick is severely disabled and will always need care.

Nevertheless he is now speaking more and more, feeding himself, doing his own toiletries, learning how to walk – and he swears brilliantly!”

Who will represent you?

Thompsons Solicitors is the most experienced personal injury firm in the UK. We have specialist workplace accident teams, with experience in winning cases big and small.

This booklet has shown you just four of Thompsons’ workplace accident clients and they have told their stories in their own words.

We have, of course, many more such clients.

Why settle for less.

Useful contacts

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
www.hse.gov.uk/

Directgov
www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/HealthAndSafetyAtWork/index.htm

The Department for Work and Pensions
benefit enquiry line
Freephone 0800 88 22 00
Textphone 0800 22 33 55

NHS Direct
0845 4647
www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

Trade Unions Congress (TUC)
www.tuc.org.uk

Further Information

Call us, without obligation, for compensation claim advice on

08000 224 224 (free from landlines)

0330 123 1230 (free from mobiles where covered by inclusive minutes).
Or if you are in a union, ask your representative for advice.

The information contained in this brochure is not a substitute for legal advice, and only applies in England and Wales. You should talk to a lawyer or adviser before making a decision about what to do.

Thompsons Solicitors is a trading name of Thompsons Solicitors LLP and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

March 2012