August 25, 2021
This blog is the second part of our 3-part series for 'Preparing The Ground' with personal injury matters. In this article, we advise exactly what you should do after an accident at work with our handy step by step guide.
"What should I do after an accident at work?" Unless you’ve had an accident before, it’s a probably not a question that you’ve not given too much thought to.
After an accident at work, your head’s going to be all over the place, you’re going to be in shock. You’re going to be worried about a million other things, about your injury and maybe even your job.
Knowing what you should do straight after an accident is crucial. It's crucial because it’s usually in that time when you’re a bit shaken that you need to be reporting your accident, to be collecting evidence and to filing a strong claim against your employer.
Here's a step-by-step guide of what you should do after an accident at work:
Fill in an accident form and make sure it’s completed correctly
The first thing to do after your accident at work is to fill in an accident form.
Fill out a form even for the most minor of injuries, even the ones you think aren’t worth it. Having historic evidence injuries is only going to help support a claim.
It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how many claims fail because accident forms are never completed or completed incorrectly.
Once the form has been completed, make sure the version of events is correct – especially if you’re not the one filling out the form.
Top tip: Always check the accident form. If it has been completed incorrectly, write to the person responsible or your health and safety team to point this out. Make sure you keep a copy of this communication.
Complete the accident form in as much detail as possible
As solicitors representing a claimant, we have to prove that the accident was avoidable. We have to prove that the accident was not your fault but the fault of your employer.
When you're wondering what you should do after an accident, make sure your priority is to get as much as detail as possible on your accident form.
Don't just complete the form in a rush to complete a tick-box exercise, make sure we have enough detail to fight your corner. Thoroughly explain the accident to us; tell us about what caused the accident, how it caused the accident, where the accident happened, the injuries sustained, the names of witnesses and why it should have been avoided.
Top tip: Wherever possible, use the exact names of the things involved in an accident. For example: record the name of the substance you slipped on, record the type of steel you tripped over etc.
If you have to go to a doctor’s surgery or hospital
If your injury is serious enough that you’ve had to go to the doctors or hospital, it is very important to make it known that your injury was sustained at work.
When your claim is being considered, your medical records from the time of the injury will be checked. Those records are really valuable to us but only if it’s stated it happened at work.
If, after your injury, you forget to tell a doctor or nurse, it becomes more difficult to prove.
Top tip: Make it clear from the outset that your injuries happened at work at doctors/hospital appointments. Trying to add this information later can be difficult.
Take photographic evidence
Many injuries are temporary. They may be minor burns or cuts that will disappear within a short period of time, possibly by the time a case is heard.
Photographs taken at the time of the accident helps to prove to insurance companies that the injuries suffered were more serious than how they might now appear, leading to a fair assessment on the level of damages in your claim.
Top tip: If possible, take photographic evidence of where the accident occurred and of the thing that caused your injury in situ.
The defendant might ask for a statement
When you’re thinking 'what should I do after an accident?', you won’t be the only one.
We are increasingly hearing of the defendant in an accident situation asking for a statement in the immediate aftermath. This is within their rights as they seek to prevent such an accident occurring again, but sometimes the motives can be a bit more sinister as the defendant seeks to cover their own back.
Do not feel bullied into giving a statement or feel like you have to answer whilst you are in pain. You are within your rights to give the statement at a later date.
Top tip: When giving your statement after an accident, stick to the facts and do not feel pressured to comment on who/what was to blame. Ask for your Branch Official to be in attendance if you wish.
Fill in the claim form quickly
This the last thing to know about what you should do after an accident at work!
When making a claim, you have three years in which to commence legal proceedings as the result of an accident.
We encourage you to fill in claim forms as soon as possible whilst the incident is fresh in your mind.
Top tip: Don’t advise your members to fill the claim form in after they have recovered from their injuries. We can complete our investigations into liability whilst recovery is still in process.
If you would like to find out more about what you should do after an accident at work, or if you need support making a claim after an accident, please contact us here.
Read our other 'Preparing The Ground' accident at work advice articles: