Maximise compensation for your work injury claim
January 28, 2021
Having an accident which wasn’t your fault doesn’t always mean you will get the compensation you deserve. It’s important you can prove your case and ensure you don’t make mistakes which could make it more difficult to recover what you’ve lost. This guide sets out the 7 most important things you need to be aware of to get the best possible compensation.
1. Preserve the evidence
The single most important thing you can do is preserve evidence from the start, so:
- Take photographs of the scene showing what caused the accident. This could be what you were lifting, what you tripped on, where you fell from, where the damage is – your photos need to help tell the story of what happened.
- Get contact details of any witnesses – if anyone saw the accident happen, we need to talk to them as soon as possible. They may only have seen the aftermath, but they could be helpful to your case nonetheless.
- Report the accident and explain what happened carefully – fill in your employer’s Accident Book; if the accident happened on someone else’s premises, ask to put details in their Accident Book too and write down the names (and, if possible, the phone numbers) of any witnesses. If there is no one around, look for a sign telling you who owns the premises and then report it to them as soon as possible.
- Most importantly, make sure you explain the accident accurately; don’t sign a report or statement without checking that it correctly sets out the details of how the accident happened. Any inaccuracies may be held against you later.
2. Record your injuries
- See your GP or go to A&E – make sure you explain carefully to the doctor or nurse exactly how it happened so that they record it correctly in your notes.
- Go back to your doctor if you aren’t getting better – insurers often argue your injuries can’t be serious if you didn’t go re-visit the doctor.
- Take photos of any visible injuries – your phone will record the date the photos were taken, and this can help to corroborate facts later. It’s a good idea to take more photos as bruises and wounds heal so we can show how long it took for your injuries to improve.
- Keep a list or a diary of your symptoms – be sure to include your expenses and any time off work, so you don’t forget to claim for them. Keeping receipts, invoices and payslips is also helpful. Without receipts, we may not be able to prove and financial implications of your injury.
3. Follow your doctor’s advice
- Take any treatment your doctor prescribes. You will have to be seen to be acting reasonably to make yourself better. Again, if you don’t have treatment, it’s more difficult to prove the seriousness of your injury.
- For the same reason, if you’re given painkillers, take them. The aim is to recover as quickly as possible.
4. Minimise your losses
This one is very important. You have a duty to take reasonable steps to keep your losses to a minimum. The other side don’t have to pay for any losses you could have avoided. Also, there’s no guarantee you will win your case, so it’s always best to keep cost to a minimum where possible. Early legal advice will help you understand what you can claim for and what evidence to keep.
If you’re feeling better and your doctor agrees, go back to work. This can be on light duties, or a phased return if necessary. If you do end up winning, it could still be quite a long time before you receive your compensation, so it would be beneficial to keep earning money, whether your case is still being processed or if you’re waiting for your compensation to come through.
When you do go back to work, make sure you keep a record of any problems you have doing your job and ask your employer for help if you can’t manage physically demanding tasks. If you feel your work is causing further damage, go back to your doctor for advice.
5. Above all, stick to the truth
This is probably the single most important piece of advice we can give you. Don’t be tempted to embellish your story of how the accident happened or how bad your injuries are. If the judge feels you have been dishonest, you could lose your claim, leaving you having to pay your own solicitors fees on top of any other expenses which came as a result of the injury.
6. Stay off social media
An injury claim should be kept private for a number of reasons.
Any posts showing you performing physical leisure activities, like playing sport, could be used against you. Some seriously injured Claimants have lost their cases because of this.
Don’t upload your activity tracker data for anyone to see how far you can run, walk or cycle. This shows how easy it is to make these mistakes, which is why we recommend a total digital detox, to eliminate any risk of ruining the credibility of your case.
7. Choose your lawyers carefully
There are many ways to find someone to handle your claim for you. Ignore any cold callers claiming to know about your injury; they often don’t know and are simply calling numbers in the hope of finding someone who is making a claim. If you let them take you on, they will either try to run your claim themselves or they will sell it to a solicitor. Solicitors are not allowed to cold call or to accept cases from someone who does.
You need a solicitor who will put your interests first, with years of experience and expertise.
Most solicitors will offer you a no win, no fee arrangement on the basis that you will pay up to 25% of your compensation towards the costs of your claim. That is normal and something we also do. However, there is a difference between a claims handler in a large firm who tells you to take the first offer so that they get paid, compared to a lawyer who will act in your best interests.
Examples of how we have helped clients win their claims
In one recent case, our client’s employers had left a broken-down forklift truck blocking vehicle access to one of their depots. When our client arrived to collect some supplies, he found other contractors trying to move it so that they could get inside to do their work. Naturally, our client decided to help, pushing the forklift and rupturing his Achilles tendon. Remarkably, the employers refused to settle saying he shouldn’t have tried to move the forklift.
Despite the trial having to be dealt with via telephone because of the COVID-19 lockdown, our client won. Other firms with less experience might have given up in the face of a total denial by the employer’s insurers but we were confident our client had a solid case. Additionally, the insurers had our offers out of hand, so they were ordered to pay a penalty, extra costs and interests on top of the judge’s award.
In another recent case, our client worked as a waitress in a busy chain restaurant. She walked into the kitchen and slipped on a wet floor, which had been cleaned in the middle of the busy lunch service. There were no wet floor signs in place. A number of independent barristers considered the claim to have low prospects of success for a few reasons. They felt the judge would accept the employer’s witnesses who said that wet floor signs were in place, that the floor was virtually dry when the accident occurred, and that the Claimant had been on her phone when she slipped. Our client’s story had been consistent throughout, and we successfully persuaded the judge that the employer’s version of events was not accurate. Our client was awarded more than £3000 in damages.
We have just settled a claim for a client who injured his hand when trying on a jacket in TK Maxx because a sharp pin had been left in the sleeve. The shop apologised and offered a £10 voucher. Having suffered a painful injury and been left with an obvious scar, our client didn’t settle for this token gesture. Instead, he earned the compensation his injury truly deserved; a £2000 settlement.
How we can help you with your case
Over the last 25 years, Marsons has helped hundreds of people recover compensation for their injuries. We have a lot of experience in acting for people injured at work or on the roads, as well as victims of slips in shops and bars, and trips on dangerous pavements. If you’ve suffered injuries which weren’t your fault, we can advise you about whether you have a valid claim. If you do, we can pursue it on your behalf, usually on a no win, no fee basis.
All you need to do is give us a call and one of our personal injury lawyers will take you through the process, explaining how we can help to ensure you win your case and maximise your compensation. It’s a free conversation, with no obligation.
Call James Hemsley or Beth King on 020 8313 1300 or fill in the enquiry form and we will call you.
About the author
Beth King is a solicitor and partner at Marsons, heading our Personal Injury team. Beth has over 30 years’ experience of winning injury claims for clients. She has a special interest in accidents on building sites – particularly falls from scaffolding and ladders, trips on poorly maintained floors, and injuries while using machinery. Beth also supervises and trains our junior lawyers, ensuring that they run claims proactively so that cases progress quickly to settlement or trial wherever possible.
Don’t just take our word for it – have a look at the testimonials from happy clients on our website.
“Thank you for everything you have done for me, you have been very good. It would take a lot to improve your service.”
Mrs J.T., Sutton Coldfield
Thank you. A well explained system. I was kept up to date at all times. Everything was fully explained by either letter or a quick phone call. A very professional service”
Mrs A.L.S., Chester
“I would like to thank you all for taking on my claim and winning it for me. I am grateful for all the work you did and that I had very little to do, it was very stress free for me. Once again thank you all very much from a very satisfied customer.”
Winifred Maxwell, Chatha
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.