Here’s What You Can Do
Having an accident at work is never a pleasant experience – but being fired afterwards quite literally adds insult to injury.
If your employer has dismissed you following an accident in the workplace, read on to find out what options are available to you.
You may be able to take legal action against your employer if they have dismissed you following an accident at work.
There are two main types of legal action available to you:
- Employment tribunal claims, which deal with your dismissal
- Personal injury claims, which seek compensation for any injuries you have sustained from your workplace accident.
if you have been dismissed following an accident at work, you may be able to take your employer to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
You can make an employment tribunal claim if your employer did not have legitimate grounds to dismiss you, or if they did not follow the correct procedures when dismissing you.
You only have three months from the date of dismissal to bring your claim to the tribunal, so it is essential that you move as quickly as possible if you wish to take this course of action.
You can make a personal injury claim to get compensation for injuries caused by your workplace accident, as well as any losses incurred as a result of your injury, including loss of income.
You can make a personal injury claim if your employer was at least partly responsible for your accident. You can bring this kind of claim against your employer regardless of whether you were dismissed or not.
There is a time limit of three years to make an accident at work claim, starting from the date when you first became aware your injuries were a result of your accident.
If your employer’s negligence contributed to your accident and they also unfairly dismissed you, you may be able to make both types of claim.
Of course, whether you can make either type of claim depends on the strength of your case. If you aren’t sure if you have a case, ask yourself the following questions:
The first thing to consider is whether you were at all at fault for the accident.
If you were entirely to blame for the accident, your employer can legally dismiss you on the grounds of misconduct or negligence.
In this situation, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to challenge your employer’s decision or take legal action against them.
If you were partly at fault, but your employer also shares some responsibility, more options are available to you.
For example, if you did not use provided PPE, but your employer had not given you sufficient health and safety training, you may bear some responsibility for the accident having occurred.
In this situation, you may be able to take your employer to employment tribunal for unfair dismissal depending on the circumstances of your case.
You can also bring a personal injury claim against your employer, as their negligence contributed to your accident. However, you will receive less compensation than you would if you were not at fault. This is known as contributory negligence, and is expressed in the courts as a percentage of your compensation. For example, if the court finds that you and your employer were equally responsible for the accident, you will receive 50% of the compensation you would be entitled to if the accident was not your fault.
If the accident was not your fault, your employer should not use it as a reason to dismiss you. If they do, you can bring an employment claim against them.
If your accident occurred as a result of your employer’s negligence, you can bring an accident at work claim against your employer to claim compensation for your injuries.
Unfortunately, employers can legally dismiss employees on long-term sick leave.
However, if you have two years’ or more service, to do so they must first:
- Consult with you to discuss your recovery progress and when you may be able to return to work
- Consider whether you could return to work
- Consider medical evidence if appropriate
- Consider any suitable alternative employment which may exist
If your employer did follow the above procedures, it is unlikely that you can bring a successful unfair dismissal claim.
However, you can still make an accident at work compensation claim if your employer’s negligence caused your accident and you were injured as a result.
Please note that if you are a disabled person within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 there are much greater obligations on the employer before they can lawfully dismiss you.
To find out more about taking sickness leave following a workplace injury, read our guide to your rights after an accident at work.
If you would like to bring a claim against your former employer, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If you are a member of a trade union, as part of your membership benefits you should be able to access free legal advice and representation for employment and accident at work claims. You will also keep 100% of any compensation awarded. Contact your union today to see how they can support you.
As the UK’s leading trade union law firm, Thompsons Solicitors represents thousands of workers every year in claims against their current and former employers. For over 100 years we have only ever acted for workers – we never represent employers, and we never will.
We also help those who don’t belong to a union bring accident at work claims against their negligent employers. For non-union members we can offer no win, no fee arrangements, which means there will be a deduction of legal fees from your final compensation if your claim is successful.