Fear of angry employers should not prevent a work accident claim from being madeJuly 24, 2011
One of the factors that stop people from making a work accident claim and receiving the compensation they are entitled to is the fear of upsetting employers and ruining any chances of forthcoming promotion and career prospects. This is something which should not be worried about by work accident victims. Recent surveys show that a majority of the UK’s employers think that it is right they should admit and take responsibility for an accident sustained at work by any of their employees. Where a work in the case of accident is concerned, it is often obvious that it is the employer who is at fault, often because they have failed to provide a safe working environment for their employees, normally through negligence. The following case study should show that feeling afraid of an employer’s reaction when it comes to making a work accident claim is never a good move. Often a work accident claim will act as a warning to the employer and they will be able to take the correct preventative measures in the future to ensure the safety of their employees.
Daniel Huntingdon, an accountant from Chorley Woods, was injured at his firm in November 2010. The injury he sustained, a broken wrist, occurred in the building’s lift. One morning, as Mr Huntingdon was standing in the lift waiting to arrive at the eighth floor, the lift abruptly jolted to a halt. The sudden movement caused Mr Huntingdon to fall down forwards, using his only free arm – his right arm – to break his fall. The impact of the fall caused Mr Huntingdon to sustain a painful break to his wrist. After visiting the hospital, where the break was put into a cast to heal, Mr Huntingdon thought about making a work accident claim. He thought it seemed reasonable logically, especially since he could not have controlled the fall at all. However, on this occasion, he decided against it. Mr Huntingdon was keen to progress up through the firm and he did not want to cause any unnecessary fuss which may affect his career opportunities. Therefore he did nothing but request that the lift was fixed in order to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.
In March 2011, however, Mr Huntingdon was standing in the same lift in the afternoon. Without any warning, the lift jolted just around the eighth floor – the same floor it had stopped suddenly at before. This time, Mr Huntingdon banged his head on the side of the lift and suffered from a serious concussion. After he had been treated at hospital this second time, Mr Huntingdon decided to have words with his HR department. He notified them that he had previously suggested that the lift be fixed (something which had not yet happened) and told them that, although he did not want to cause any bad feeling, he wanted to make a work accident claim against the accountancy firm. To his surprise, the HR department agreed with him that they thought this was a fair move to make. They agreed that it was ridiculous that an employee should have been injured twice for the same reason when both injuries were entirely preventable. Feeling relieved, Mr Huntingdon finally got some legal advice and explained the whole situation. He received compensation for his injuries and his work accident claim was enough to alert the firm to properly look into the problem with the lift. The lift was fixed consequently.
This outcome was a very positive one and Mr Huntingdon felt that no bad feeling was created during the proceedings of his work accident claim. Surprising as this may sound, this sort of employer reaction is often the case. Victims of an accident at work should remember that most employers are reasonable – they will see the unfairness in an employee suffering an injury at work which is no fault of their own. Most employers will also want to be seen as good employers, employers who take care of their employees; an employer who does not ensure the further safety of an injured employee will not be described in the future as a ‘good’ employer. In Mr Huntingdon’s case, the faulty lift hazard would not have been remedied had he not made his work accident claim – by doing this he ensured the future safety of himself and his fellow colleagues.