The following excerpt comes from a piece of coursework that I had to complete as part of my law degree. It concerns accidents in the workplace and how these can lead to a personal injury claim. I received 87% as part of this piece of coursework which was part of a larger assignment.
Personal Injury claims can arise out of many situations, accidents happen everywhere after all. If you think of the amount of time that a person spends at work, and the multitude of dangerous occupations and industries there are it is no surprise that a significant number of personal injury compensation claims are brought about due to workplace injuries.
Health and safety guidelines are stringently enforced and also of great assistance to employers in limiting risks to employees. Prosecutions can follow for employers who show disregard for health and safety requirements and the courts view such matters very seriously. The Police will often investigate such matters, especially if a fatality has occurred. The matter will then be reported to the prosecuting authorities for consideration as to the whether or not court proceedings should be initiated. In all such situations, no matter how minor the injury, compensation can be a key factor and consideration.
For the employee, compensation will allow the matter to be brought to a better conclusion and, in the event of serious injuries it can take in to account the impact on the injured person`s life, the fact that they may not be able to work again or only at a reduced capacity and whether or not any care arrangements require to be out in place. This can extend as far as making changes to a person’s home or living arrangements and providing for 24 hour care if need be. Such requirements should not be placed upon family members or friends, no matter how keen they are to help.
Given the high likelihood of accidents occurring in the workplace all employers by law are required to have Public Liability Insurance. This is a statutory requirements and allows insurance cover and protection for both employees and members of the public who are only visiting the workplace.
The existence of this insurance goes a great way to ensuring that injured workers or visitors are compensated in the event of injury that was not their fault. Rather than workers having to take claims against their employer – who may not be able to pay the necessary levels of compensation – the claim is intimated through a solicitor to the employer who will then pass the matter on to their insurer. The insurers then have their own solicitors who will communicate directly with the solicitor for the injured party. This is clearly a much smoother and less stressful process than an employee requiring to enter in to such discussions with their employer. The employee would perhaps be intimidated and would also not know the levels of compensation that were appropriate, or the matters to include within the scope of the claim.
Given that solicitors are involved, legal precedents will be known by each negotiating party meaning that the matter can quickly be resolved. It is the norm that the employers solicitor will initially deny liability for the injury but this is only a way of protecting their client`s position until all of the relevant evidence has been gathered, including medical records and details of how the accident occurred. Once established liability is usually agreed and the appropriate level of compensation determined. Evidence is very rarely required in compensation claims arising out of personal injury matters.