We live in a safer society than at any other time in our history. Not only are crime rates historically low, but we now have minimum standards for workplace safety, which must be met at all times. It is easy to take for granted that we live in a country where our health and safety in the workplace are protected by law. These protections prevent the exploitation of workers and greatly reduce the chances of a serious injury occurring in the workplace.
Unfortunately, it is all but inevitable that some of us will suffer an avoidable injury while at work. If this happens to you, then you need to know what your rights are and how you can pursue a claim for appropriate compensation.
Here is a brief guide to personal injury claims, what they are, and when you should contact a personal injury solicitor.
What is a Personal Injury?
The term personal injury encompasses a whole host of possible occurrences. Injuries do not have to be physical and so any scenario which causes psychological damage can result in personal injury. Identifying that someone has been injured isn’t very difficult. However, in order to pursue a claim for compensation, you will need to be able to demonstrate that the injury you suffered was avoidable and could and should have been prevented. In some cases, this is clear cut and easy to demonstrate, however, it is often more complicated. Solicitors will be able to assess the merits of your case and advise you on how to proceed.
Common Personal Injuries
There is an endless array of possible scenarios in which a worker might be injured in some way. Clearly, some workplace environments are more hazardous than others, but there is always some potential for injury, especially if other people become complacent about workplace safety.
Hearing loss is one of the most common long-term issues associated with workplace health and safety. Workers who, for example, operate loud machinery for prolonged periods should be offered ear defenders to protect them from the hearing loss, which can result from such long-term exposure. These cases of hearing loss are among the most common injuries that ultimately end up in front of an injury lawyer.
Acoustic Shock is a similar phenomenon that has only recently been documented. It is a condition that affects workers who spend most of their day talking on a headset, such as call centre operators and technical support staff. It is best prevented by frequent breaks.
Asbestos exposure is, thankfully, becoming increasingly rare as the material has not been used in construction for some time, owing to the serious problems that exposure to it can cause to human health. However, because asbestos remains in many older buildings, it still does cause problems and the danger needs to be taken seriously. The effects of asbestos, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, can sometimes present decades after exposure. Because of this, law firms are still taking on the cases of workers who are just now receiving cancer diagnoses.
What to Do
If you think that you might have a valid personal injury claim arising from an incident in the workplace, then your first port of call should be to a firm of solicitors. If you can find some lawyers who specialise in personal injury claims, then you should approach them over more general law firms. If they have first-hand experience pursuing personal injury claims, then they will be better positioned to advise you on whether to proceed with your claim or not. Roper James Solicitors for example specialise in claims which arise from the workplace (you can see a list of the claims they deal with at roperjames.co.uk), so somewhere like this would be the most ideal place to get a quote from.
You should also see your doctor and explain the situation to them. Do this as soon as possible after the accident, so that you can most accurately document the effect on your health that the incident has triggered. A doctor will also be able to advise you as to whether there are any potential long-term implications of your injury. Pursuing a personal injury claim will require that you present a doctor’s report to the court, so you will have to do this at some point anyway.
If your claim is successful, then you will be awarded financial compensation. The amount of money that you are awarded will depend on the level of harm that you have suffered and the impact that this has had on your day to day functioning. There are two types of compensation that can be awarded.
First are the general damages, which form the basic compensation for an injury; this compensation will cover pain, suffering, and loss of earnings.
The other type of compensation is special damages. This covers financial loss incurred as a result of your injury. The financial loss includes damage to property, from clothes to homes, as well as travel and medical costs.
If you are injured at work and you feel that it should have been prevented, then you might have a valid personal injury claim. Consult a solicitor to discuss your case today.