Learn what are your rights if you’ve had a workplace accident

Written by Nigel Simpkins

If you’ve sustained an injury at work, you may be wondering what your legal rights are. Unfortunately, workplace accidents are common, and it’s essential to know how to deal with such a situation when it happens. While it’s critical to take care of yourself physically and mentally, getting compensation for your losses also plays a significant role in the recovery process. 

Employers are responsible for ensuring safe working conditions for their employees. And yet, sometimes, they fail to do this, resulting in devastating consequences. Workplace accidents affect all areas of the employee’s life. After you’ve suffered an injury, you have to deal with financial issues and physical and mental suffering. Knowing your legal rights can speed up your recovery and put your mind at ease. 

Why do workplace accidents happen? 

Depending on the work environment, different hazards can lead to accidents. Here are the most common reasons for sustaining a work injury:

  • Slips, trips and falls. This is one leading factor that causes death among employees. This type of accident often occurs due to employee negligence, involving things like leaving file drawers open or not using the proper equipment. Other factors that increase the risk of suffering an injury are wires and loose electrical cords. However, this type of workplace accident can be easily prevented by taking the necessary steps to ensure safety. 
  • Overexertion. When you carry out a physical activity over an extended period, you get tired at some point. Many workplace accidents occur due to physical exertion, like kneeling, lifting, pulling or bending. But even lifting lighter loads, such as boxes, can affect your health if you don’t practice proper lifting techniques. 
  • Distractions. Unfortunately, distractions can also lead to accidents. If an employee carries out the same task for an extended time, boredom can affect their judgement. While using their mobile phones, employees may walk into things or trip over clutter. To prevent this, employees should take regular breaks to recharge so that they can focus better when they get back to work. 
  • Cluttered work environments. Client-facing businesses do their best to keep the workplace tidy, but things are different for those that don’t frequently have visitors. Housekeeping illustrates an organisation’s attitude towards quality and safety. This means companies must ensure a tidy work environment. But poor housekeeping can create numerous hazards, leading to accidents. 

What are your rights after suffering a workplace accident? 

Getting medical care

After sustaining a workplace injury, one of your rights is to seek medical attention. You should stop working and focus on getting a treatment plan. If your employer tries to prevent you from getting medical care, they break the law. 

In fact, most workplaces should have a first aid officer if someone sustains an injury. However, employees can still seek medical attention at the hospital whenever necessary. 

Being free from retaliation

Retaliation refers to any adverse reaction an employer takes against a worker who exercises a legal right. If you’ve suffered an injury at work, the law protects you from retaliation.

Thus, your employer doesn’t have the right to dismiss you, cut down your pay, or take any other adverse employment action just because you’ve decided to seek compensation for your injury. But if they do take adverse employment action, your lawyer can solicit additional compensation. 

Getting sick pay

Most companies offer sick pay to workers who have suffered an injury. But in some cases, employees may be given time off without being paid. However, if you’ve been injured at the workplace, it’s your right to get paid during your days off. 

If your employer makes you choose between coming back to work or resigning, you should inform your attorney so that they can take legal action as soon as possible. 

Claiming compensation

Getting compensation for your suffering and losses is your right, and you should not shy away from it. If you’ve sustained an injury at work due to your employer’s negligence, making a personal injury claim can help you receive the benefits you deserve. After all, employers have the legal responsibility to ensure safety at the workplace and prevent physical and mental

injuries. If they don’t provide safe working conditions, they should be held accountable for the accident. 

It’s essential to learn how much compensation you can get for an accident at work to maximize your claim. A legal expert can support you throughout the process and use their knowledge and experience in your favour to ensure a successful outcome for your case.

Taking time to recover

Focusing on recovery should be your priority if you’ve sustained an injury. Taking some time away from work can speed up your recovery process, as you reduce the time you are injured. On the contrary, your injuries may worsen if you get back to work too early. 

Taking time to recover will also benefit your employer since you’ll be able to get back to your duties as soon as possible. Plus, it’s dangerous to work when you are unfit – if you rush back to your job responsibilities, you don’t only risk your own health but also your colleagues’. If you feel pressured to return to work, you should communicate it to your lawyer. They’ll know how to address the issue. 

 Requesting light duties

Even when you get back to work, you may still need some time to recover fully. Therefore, you should be assigned lighter duties instead of heavy ones. Whether you’re suffering physically or mentally, you need time to heal, and your employer should give it to you.

If your work involves carrying heavy items, you may not be able to carry out the task because of your injury. So, the solution is to do office work until you can get back to your regular tasks. Additionally, you shouldn’t work in stressful conditions, given that you’re still recovering from the emotional trauma that resulted from the accident. And of course, your salary shouldn’t be cut, since you aren’t to blame for your injuries.  

Final thoughts

Sustaining an injury is traumatic and costly, and it happens unexpectedly, forcing you to change your lifestyle completely. If you suffer a workplace accident, knowing your rights is vital to get maximum compensation for your financial losses and physical and mental suffering.