Personal Injury – Be Prepared

It’s only anecdotal but there seems to be an increase in the number of serious workplace injuries in and around the Kettering and Corby areas.  I seem to have taken on a large number of clients recently who have been seriously injured by machine plant and equipment in the workplace - and whilst dealing with such accidents is the basis of my working life – I never get used to the devastating impact that something as simple as a missing guard on a machine or the absence of an alarm on a forklift can cause.  Lives really can be devastated or even ended in seconds.

I know that a compensation claim is the last thing on anyone’s mind at the point of a serious injury, but when a personal injury is going to mean the loss of a working life, limitation on your family life and/or lead to mental health problems it might serve you well to have an eye to how things may play out in the long term – and maybe even give it thought now – just in case.

When a serious workplace accident has happened it is a sad fact based on my long experience of such matters that sometimes the employer will use ‘every trick in the book’ to prevent a successful claim.  In recent claims from workplaces in Corby and Kettering I have had employers deleting CCTV footage that they believe may be helpful to an injured employees claim; I have had one employer who, after a very serious life limiting injury in Corby, went to the injured client’s bedside while he was recovering and got him to sign a ‘waiver’ that he wouldn’t sue them in return of a few quid (and it was literally a few quid) ‘off the record’ – to make it worse the injured man spoke little English and the nature of the document he was asked to sign was completely misrepresented to him – they are currently seeking to rely on the document to deny his claim.  I have had another employer who, after a fatal accident in the area suggested that one worker involved in the accident might want to leave the company as he would always be known as “the bloke responsible for the accident” when the reality was that the accident was as a direct result of a systems failure and my client was every bit a victim as the poor worker who died.

So when an accident happens there are some things that may be of great assistance when it comes to getting your life back together:

  • Always make sure the accident is recorded in the accident book as soon as practicable after it happens
  • If you need medical help always explain to the Doctor exactly what happened – This will usually be recorded in your medical notes and form an important part of the evidence if a claim is necessary
  • Try and record the names of potential witnesses as soon as possible after the accident
  • If you are asked to sign any documentation by your employer – make sure you agree with the document’s contents – it is common for employers to tell you that you MUST sign documents – if you disagree with the contents and believe it to be an inaccurate version of events then give us a call and we will advise – on the spot - over the phone if necessary.
  • Always keep receipts for anything you spend as a result of the accident – prescriptions, medical treatments, etc.
  • Make sure you employer reports any accidents appropriately to the HSE or RIDDOR (very many don’t!)

It is always best to be prepared.

Next time you’re in Kettering or Corby pop into Seatons and ask one of my colleagues on Reception for a free Seatons Privilege Card – they are credit card type cards with all our contact numbers on them – handy to keep in your wallet in case you ever need legal advice on the spot in an emergency.

One day it may be the most useful card in your wallet.

(Oh…And if you’re with the kids ask for a Seatons Teddy Bear – they serve absolutely no legal purpose whatsoever – but are very cute…er…so my secretary tells me…and free)