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12 things you must do when you have had an accident at work 2

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  1. Make a diary entry of all your symptoms

It’s imperative that you keep an up-to-date list of your symptoms, whether this is on paper, on a computer or on your smartphone. This is because doctors and nurses do not always make a full record of all your symptoms.

Time and again, our clients tell us that, at the time of their accident at work, they had multiple injuries, yet the hospital only concentrated on what they regarded as the most serious at that time.

However, in my experience, the passage of time can easily flip injuries on their head. What may seem the most minor injury immediately following the accident can often turn into a long-term, debilitating condition – perhaps the most significant injury in the claim.

And if a doctor or nurse didn’t record this minor injury at the time of the appointment, then a medical expert, writing a report some months or even years later, will find it difficult to attribute the injury to the accident at work.

In addition, personal injury claims can take several years to resolve, particularly when the injuries are complex and long lasting. Memories naturally fade over time, so a helpful diary of symptoms will assist you in explaining the impact of your accident at work the medical expert.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to write a diary, you could record video footage of you discussing your symptoms.

  1. Go to your GP and/or hospital

You may have already been to see your GP or attended hospital about your injuries. You may be making a good recovery. Even so, I would recommend that you attend your GP or hospital as many times as you see fit. Listen to your body.

If, for example, you only sought medical attention once (at the time of the accident), most medical experts will consider that your injuries only lasted a few months. This is because, in their minds, if an injury is causing serious, longstanding problems then the injured person would have sought further medical attention.

If this is incorrect then such an impression can seriously undermine your claim. It is the medical expert who essentially determines the extent of the injuries based upon their medical opinions. It is not you or your personal injury solicitor.

To find out more read our article about medical examinations for the purposes of a supporting a claim.

And what newspapers and the government do not tell you is that, if you are successful with your accident at work claim, then all your medical costs incurred by the NHS will be paid for by your employer’s liability insurance. So successful personal injury claims are good for society.

  1. Consider submitting a grievance

Irrespective of the outcome of any accident investigation, if you have suffered an injury at work because of, say, defective equipment, or because you have had to manually lift too heavy a weight, or because of a slippery work surface, then you have the right to complain to your employer about it.

If your submitted grievance is written properly, your employer ought not to hold it against you. If they do, you may be able bring a whistleblowing employment claim.

Additionally, a failure to properly investigate a grievance might be enough for you to make a constructive dismissal claim (though seek dedicated employment law advice before resigning).

  1. Keep a record of your expenses and losses

The purpose of compensation in an accident at work claim is to put you back in the position you would have been in if the accident hadn’t happened. Each case is different. If, say, you lost pay as a result of the accident, then you should be able to recover all lost pay. Similarly, if you have lost the chance to earn a bonus or a promotion, then all those future losses should be recoverable too. You can use our free forms in our Legal Library here.

In addition, you can claim for the loss of enjoyment of a prearranged holiday; for care and assistance from friends and family; for increased heating bills; and all trips to the hospital etc. The better your solicitor knows you, the more accurate your compensation settlement is going to be.

For more details on the kind of losses you can claim for in a personal injury claim, download our free eBook: The Ultimate Personal Injury Compensation Guide.

As mentioned above, a personal injury claim for an accident at work may last some years. It’s therefore imperative that you record all of your losses as they occur so you don’t forget about them. Either record your losses and expenses on paper, on a computer or into your smartphone. Remember to take photos of all receipts and send all this information to your personal injury solicitor.

  1. Submit a Subject Access Request

If you think that your employer has information which you wish to know – whether out of curiosity or because you think it will assist any future compensation claim – then you can make a request to your employer for all the information that they have about you. This includes all emails in which you are mentioned as well your personnel and occupational health files. A Subject Access Request is likely to cost you £10 and shouldn’t take longer than 40 days. Once GDPR comes in, you won’t need to pay a £10 fee.

You can find out more about how to submit a Subject Access Request on the Information Commissioner’s Office website. The Information Commissioner regulates compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and GDPR.

However, if you are thinking if submitting a Subject Access Request, you should do so before you make any accident at work claim. This is because once a claim has commenced an employer might argue that they don’t have to fully comply with the request – instead arguing that they have to disclose less information. It is possible for them to do so because the disclosure rules which operate in a personal injury claim are much more restrictive than the wider provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

  1. Speak to a dedicated accident at work solicitor, not a call centre operative.

Just because someone works at a solicitors practice, it doesn’t mean that they are a solicitor. If you are unsure whether someone is a solicitor, then you can search for them on The Law Society’s ‘Find a Solicitor’ database.

Given that most accident at work compensation claims are run using ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreements, why use a paralegal and not a qualified solicitor? It’s your case: so use a solicitor that you trust. Don’t always use a paralegal selected for you, perhaps by an insurance company. Instead, take control of your own claim and read around the subject, just as you have done with this article. Switch solicitors if you are not getting the service that you deserve. We specialise in taking over personal injury claims when the other lawyers aren’t doing such a good job.

If you have been injured in an accident at work, Truth Legal’s team of specialist personal injury solicitorscan help you.

If you have already started your accident at work claim with a paralegal in a call centre, or another law firm that are not providing you with the right standard of service, you can easily switch your claim to us.

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