Signed off work due to work related accident

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by smmudge, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. smmudge

    smmudge Sissy that walk!

    Just looking for some general advice and what our possible options are.

    A few weeks ago my wife had an accident at work, she was on site and somehow the ground gave way and although it wasn't a big drop the landing and surprise of it jarred her back. They did reports etc and it was all documented. She's been in pain since, it seemed like it was getting a bit better but recently it's got worse, especially when driving.

    Health services have been pretty crap, she phoned the GP and they said they can't help, she needs to go to walk-in clinic, walk-in clinic said they can't help, she needs to go to GP etc. Luckily GP yesterday agreed to see her and she had a good one.

    So wife has been signed off work for 2 weeks. Sick pay entitlement at her work isn't all that generous, basically 5 days a year, I think she's taken one already so will get 4 then 6 unpaid with maybe a very small amount of SSP.

    She is the main wage earner so it will have an impact, although we've got a bit of savings so won't struggle just yet. It is scary though to think what if it doesn't get better or she needs some more time off. Obviously my view is she has to take as long as she needs, she was reluctant to even take the two weeks and was quite upset, but in the end that's what she needs.

    Do we have any rights in view of the fact that it's related to a work injury? Obviously you get those had an accident at work no win no fee solicitors, we're not looking at doing that really unless it comes to a point we genuinely feel disadvantaged.
  2. Geri

    Geri wasn't born to follow

    If the accident is due to their negligence then she will be able to claim for loss of earnings as well as damages for pain and suffering. What kind of ground was she standing on? Outside, inside?
  3. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    Sorry to hear that

    Hopefully someone with factual knowledge will be along soon. In the meantime, have a look at ACAS. I've found them helpful a number of times on their phone line Home - Acas Mobile
    smmudge likes this.
  4. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Where there’s pain there’s a claim etc.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  5. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat hmm


    Local union rep would of course be best first port of call for all of this - but if for whatever reason this isn't possible...

    Assuming all concerned are in England, then this (CAB - from the health and safety angle) and this (CAB from benefits angle) may be a good start. (as far as i know the rules are broadly similar in the other bits of the UK but there can be subtle differences)

    Depending on household circumstances (and this would include your income and savings as well as hers) you as a household may be eligible for income related benefits (income support, housing benefit if you pay rent, council tax reduction - i'm a bit fuzzy about what assistance there is for help with mortgage interest) - the (independent and anonymous) benefits calculator here may be worth a look.

    You say the accident has been fully reported at work - has she got details of any possible witnesses? An award of damages can be reduced if the employer can claim 'contributory negligence' (i.e. if the injured person did something wrong that contributed to the accident) - I'm not suggesting that was the case here, just wanting to make sure employer can't try it on.

    May be worth looking in to employer's sick pay policy - some do have a more 'generous' scheme where sick leave is a result of accident at work.

    If she is in a union, or if there's an industry benevolent fund, then she might be eligible for some sort of benefit from them (although this may have to be declared if you / she claims benefits from DWP as well)

    Ultimately, employer is legally required to have employer's liability insurance, which is there to pay compensation in cases like this. You do not have to involve a solicitor to bring a claim, but since employer and / or insurers will have their solicitors involved, it would be an uphill struggle. My gut feeling is that the more an ambulance chaser advertises, the more reason they should be steered clear of.

    Local solicitors will often be able to take this sort of thing on (or is there a local law centre?) - or do either of you have access to legal services via anything like trade union membership, co-op membership, household insurance?

    Claims do take a while - nothing involving the legal process is quick, but part of it is to establish whether the claim is for something short term or something that causes long term problems.

    Hope all goes well
  6. nogojones

    nogojones Well-Known Member

    PT covered it pretty well, especially the 1st port of call being the union as they will generally suport a claim.

    You say the ground gave way. Is this an industry where these sorts of acccidents are not out of the ordinary? In a a previous workplace with a high accident rate we always claimed, every time. You'd be negligent not to, or there would be no incentive for the employer to try and improve H&S
  7. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    I don't know the law but if it was caused at work I'd fully expect her to receive her normal pay while off sick. I'd be pissed off if that didn't happen.
  8. smmudge

    smmudge Sissy that walk!

    Yeah if she got paid her basic wage she'd be happy. This would still be lower than normal because she gets quite a bit in travel time, overtime & being on call, but she'd be happy with this.

    Despite my nagging she isn't in a union (I know I know) but I am, I'm going to contact mine and see if they can help with anything if they will, maybe advice at least.

    Accident happened outside, she works on big building sites so I guess there are higher risk of accidents. Two other people were present, though not looking directly at her when it happened, but close enough to know she wasn't doing anything silly. She took a photo in fact:


    She says before it broke it all just looked like flat ground.

    She is still in talks with her employer as to what they will pay her and what she wants, and also hopefully at the end of 2 weeks she'll be better. But all the info is really useful for just in case, thanks guys.
    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  9. ddraig

    ddraig dros ben llestri

    Thompsons solicitors (through TU) sorted my claim out for accident during working day including physio etc, took a while but worth it
  10. Geri

    Geri wasn't born to follow

    It may not be that straightforward if it was on a building site, it would depend on whether her employers had any control over the area. It might possibly be a claim against someone else.

    In any event there is no rush, as she would have three years to bring a claim and I would suggest concentrating on getting over the injury first.
  11. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad heckling from the back!

    In addition to Puddy-tat's advice, I would add ...
    Document / copy everything, including taking contemperous notes of any phone calls.
  12. nogojones

    nogojones Well-Known Member

    and get the contact details of any witnesses and ask them to recall what happened
    smmudge likes this.
  13. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    Was a risk assessment done for visiting the site? Why did the ground give way - is there going to be an investigation (there should be if someone has been injured)? Was she given the appropriate PPE for the activity being undertaken?

    I hope your wife is OK, and she gets better soon.
    Bahnhof Strasse likes this.
  14. smmudge

    smmudge Sissy that walk!

    Yeah that's another thing, obviously she's working for her employer A but the site is run by another company B, she spoke to the person who looks after all the health and safety for company B but they said that they wouldn't be liable, it's employer A who would be responsible. But then other people have told us company B would ultimately be responsible so we have no idea!

    I figure should it come to us feeling we need to get legal advice they'll have a better idea hopefully.
  15. Guineveretoo

    Guineveretoo Mostly bewildered

    If she is made an offer, for sick pay etc., she must not sign anything without taking legal advice. They might try and get her to sign away her right to claim.

    But she really ought to be in a union. (Yes - I know others have said the same thing...)
  16. Geri

    Geri wasn't born to follow

    Sometimes it isn't obvious until an investigation has been carried out, but if a party disputes liability then they have to disclose all the documentation in support of any denial so a solicitor can decide if it's worth taking it further or not.
    equationgirl likes this.
  17. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat hmm

    That's an interesting one. Having at one point worked in a role that was 'outsourced' but mainly working on my employer's client's premises, and at another point spending a lot of my working time out and about, I ought to know the answer and I'm not sure I do. It may be the case that someone has to claim from their employer who then claims from site owner, or drags them in as co-defendant or some such.

    This might be a gentle reminder. Although worth pointing out that most unions won't provide representation over something that happened before someone joined, in much the same way you'd not get insurance if you tried to take a policy out the day after your house caught fire. A new member may be entitled to some advice from day one, though.

    That is also a very valid point which had not occurred to me.
  18. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    That is kind of irrelevant. Her employer has a duty to ensure her health and safety, regardless of who was responsible for the site. Any claim would be against employer, who may have a case against the owner of site, but you needn't worry abut that, the employer cannot fob you off with the argument that they aren't responsible.

    She should also make sure that the company has reported the accident to the HSE under the RIDDOR regulations.
    ddraig, trashpony and smmudge like this.
  19. Geri

    Geri wasn't born to follow

    It isn't irrelevant, it's a defence which could quite legitimately be raised if for example the employee's job was to visit various sites over which the employer has no control. Whether or not it is likely to be successful would depend on a lot of other factors. Whilst the duty of care to employees is non delegable, there is also the caveat that the employer must act to ensure safety as far as is reasonably practicable.

    Having said that it is very difficult to defend a claim from an employee, as 9 times out of 10 there is some kind of failure on the part of the employer, and most insurance companies are very reluctant to risk the costs of going to trial.
    equationgirl likes this.
  20. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    The employer would still have a duty of care even if they didn't have control over the site, and the whole reasonably practicable thing leaves far too much to interpretation imo. I'd agree that insurance companies are not gonna want to go to court. I heard of a case recently where a man and his wife broke into a construction site to see their new home, removed security measures to enter the house and wife fell through hole in the bedroom floor and broke her ankles. Absolutely no action taken by HSE as company had done all they could to keep trespassers out, but insurance company didn't want total chance of court action and paid out £24k.
  21. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    As a matter of interest what does your wife do on these construction sites? is she on different sites every day or is she based on each one for some period of time, that may well have a bearing on possible action.
  22. Geri

    Geri wasn't born to follow

    I bet that went down well with their insured!
    equationgirl likes this.
  23. smmudge

    smmudge Sissy that walk!

    Basically air testing / monitoring when people work with hazardous materials, which can be anything from an hour jobbie in someone's flat, a few days in a shop, to sites that have been building sites for years and have various projects going on within it (like on this occasion) and in that case she can be on that site a lot, often weeks at a time, but then can be somewhere else another week. She has some colleagues that are permanent at these sites but she isn't, but there a lot, if that makes sense.

    Yep on Friday she was emailing her employer and told them to report it as per RIDDOR (she'd had that advice from a colleague).

    She will be spending the next 2 weeks taking it very easy and taking the strong cocodamol she was prescribed, which she'll be able to do now she doesn't have to drive. On a different note does anyone have any tips for dealing with the nausea when you take cocodamol??
    Wilf likes this.
  24. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    Good luck with it Smudge/your wife, can't improve on all the excellent advice above. Though - without having a go in any way - this is a perfect illustration as to why you should be in a union. Mine is hopeless politically and I'm in a 'moderate branch' :rolleyes: , but when things like this come up you've got advice and support all in situ.
  25. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    I've had it at the max dose for 20 years or more and don't get nausea with it, but I know it is a definite side effect. I think chemists may have over the counter remedies, but there are certainly prescription only things - I have one for an inner ear problem. If the nausea persists, might get something for it with a phone consultation with gp?
  26. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    Miss-Shelf and crossthebreeze like this.
  27. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    For nausea a travel sickness tablet should do the job, but speak to a pharmacist. It should wear off over a few days.
    Miss-Shelf and smmudge like this.
  28. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    Check your household insurance policy. Some of them offer legal support, so your wife might be able to get 'free' legal advice that way.

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