Work Accident Claims

Accidents at work very often require an analysis of extensive documentation, which means that knowing exactly what to ask for is important.

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Guiding you through all aspects of work accident claims

We understand that people may be reluctant to make a work accident claim against their employer.  However, your employer has a legal duty to keep you safe at work and should have employer’s liability insurance for when things do go wrong.  This means that work injury claims are in fact handled by the insurer, not the employer.

According to the latest statistics around 124,000 workers suffered an injury at work which lasted more than a week. 135 workers also lost their lives at work, most of whom were working in construction. 

Accidents at work very often require an analysis of extensive documentation, which means that knowing exactly what to ask for is important.  Sometimes evidence may be needed from an expert to provide an opinion on relevant industry standards.

At Higgs LLP we prioritise your early rehabilitation needs and help with securing early interim payments wherever possible.  We also have an in-house client support manager who can help support you with a wide range of social needs.  We also offer ‘no win no fee’ agreements to fund your claim, which means that there is no financial risk to you if you lose.

Start your work accident claim

Claiming works accident compensation

If your injuries were fortunately not too serious, your claim can be handled in a streamlined process so long as your employer accepts responsibility, which is designed to provide you with your compensation as quickly as possible.

However, if you suffered serious injuries, our experienced and dedicated serious injury lawyers will help arrange early medical rehabilitation and interim compensation payments, if the other party accepts liability.

We offer a service which goes well beyond obtaining compensation. We are here to support you and we will build a relationship with you that will last beyond settlement of your claim.  We will provide expert legal advice, early financial assistance and help with arranging rehabilitation, specialist equipment and any other support that you or your family member needs, to help you or your loved ones rebuild their lives.

We are also able to offer you a ‘no win no fee’ agreement if we think your claim has enough prospects of success.  We will discuss the funding of your claim in more detail when you contact us.

Report the claim

When a work accident happens, it should be reported to your employer as soon as possible, in line with their reporting processes.  It is a legal requirement that accidents are recorded by the employer.  This is usually done through a supervisor.  The report should be a factual record of what happened and if possible, you may be asked to sign the entry in the accident book.  It is a legal requirement that accidents are recorded by the employer.

When do I make a works accident injury claim?

When you have a works accident injury, you will usually have gone to hospital where the doctors and nursing staff will have provided your initial treatment and care needs.  This may have involved one or more operations.  After then, when you are recovering the hospital may involve other health professionals, such as occupational therapist and physiotherapist, to help with your rehabilitation and hopefully your discharge.  The exact nature of this help will depend on your injuries and individual circumstances.

As lawyers who specialise in work accident injury claims, many patients will contact us very soon after their injury to ask for our help.  The main advantage of us being involved at this early stage, is that we may be able to arrange more rehabilitation to facilitate your discharge because your health is the top priority.  It is commonly accepted that early rehabilitation intervention improves your chances of reaching your maximal recovery sooner.

How can we help with your rehabilitation?

To help us work alongside your medical team in serious injury cases, we will instruct a case manager in suitable cases.  A case manager is an independent healthcare professional, often a registered nurse, occupational therapist, or physiotherapist, who works for you outside of the legal claim process.  They will see you, often in your home environment, to prepare an immediate needs assessment report. They have access to your medical records and so are best placed to identify any additional care or support needs that you may require, as well as any aids or adaptations that you need.

The case manager is often instructed jointly with the insurance company of the employer.  However, sometimes this is not always possible, in which case we may be able to instruct the case manager unilaterally, in suitable cases.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, their impact on your life, and how you recover, the case manager may be involved supporting, coordinating your rehabilitation needs for a long time.

How our solicitors can help?

Our solicitors are specialists in works accident claims.  They understand how stressful it can be to make a legal claim for your injury, while at the same time trying to adapt to your injury; they also understand the impact that this has on your family.  

We believe that early intervention is the best way to help you maximise your chances of rehabilitation, so we focus, where possible, on arranging case manager support and interim payments, whilst we work to secure the best overall outcome for you and your family.  We always put you at the centre of everything we do.

As we are a broad-based practice, we can provide holistic support and work with our colleagues in other legal disciplines to support your case, if needed.  It means you will benefit from a seamless, one-team approach.  You are in safe hands.

We are:

  • One of three law firms selected by The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham to support patients at the hospital as part of the 4 Trauma 4 Patients support service
  • One of three firms selected by the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire operated by Cardinal Management to support patients as part of the Major Trauma Signposting project
  • One of three firms selected by the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital operated by Cardinal Management to support patients as part of the Major Trauma Signposting project
  • Accredited members of Headway’s Head Injury Solicitors Directory
  • Spinal Injuries Association trusted legal partner for the West Midlands
  • Serious Injury Guide signatories
  • Members of:
    • The Motor Accident Solicitors Society
    • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
    • Birmingham Law Society
    • Approved Law Society Personal Injury Panel and Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel
    • Approved by Association for Victims of Medical Accidents
    • Recognised in Chambers and Partners Directory
    • Recommended by the Legal 500 as leading personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers.

Starting the claim

It should be possible after meeting with you to have a good idea of who may be to blame for your work injury, although in some cases more than one party may possibly be liable.

We will send a letter of claim to the employer or anyone else we consider is responsible for your accident.  If you do not know their insurer details, we may be able to find out who the insurer is from the ELTO database, which helps trace workplace insurers. 

The letter of claim sets out the basic circumstances of the incident, why we hold them responsible, brief details of your injuries and other losses such as lost income.  It also includes some personal details that the insurer will need to register your claim with the Department of Work and Pensions’ Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU).  The CRU recovers money from insurers who accept liability for an injury claim, to reimburse the cost to the NHS of any ambulance you needed, staying in an NHS hospital and, also, any state benefits you may have needed due to your injuries.  We will also nominate details of the case managers we propose are suitable to prepare your immediate needs assessment, if appropriate.

It is usual for the insurer to acknowledge your letter of claim within 21 days, and to confirm their decision on whether they accept responsibility for your catastrophic injury within the next 3 months.  Although sometimes liability may not always be resolved in that time if say, the accident circumstances are unclear or are contested, or the insurer wants to see a HSE accident investigation report before confirming their stance.

Evidence needed to make a claim

When we first see you, we will need to know that details of the incident that caused your work injury.  As well as taking details of what you remember happened, we will also want to know if there are any photos or CCTV of the incident, and whether you have the details of any witnesses.  Objects involved in the incident may also provide important evidence and should be kept.  Depending on how you suffered your injury, there may be other bodies investigating the incident for regulatory or criminal investigation purposes.  For example, there may be inquiries by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the Local Authority, depending on which body oversees your workplace safety.  These reports can contain important evidence which may support establishing what happened and who should take legal responsibility.

Our accreditations

Head Injury Solicitor 2024
SIA Trusted Partner
Accreditation Personal Injury Colour Jpeg
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"The focus seems to be on catastrophic injury, seeing clients from the very earliest stages and supporting them through their rehabilitation journey"

Legal 500

"Andy Shaw is ambitious for the firm, but principally for his clients, bringing an unflappable nature, but with true empathy. He is as good as any personal injury lawyer in the country"

Legal 500

"They are really carving out a reputation as leading personal injury lawyers"

Chambers and Partners

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

Depending on the severity of the work accident injury, your employer may have to report your accident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  The HSE is a government agency which is responsible for workplace safety.  The requirement to report to the HSE is contained in the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, and a so-called RIDDOR reports must be made by your employer when:

  • anyone dies following a work-related accident.

Or when a worker suffers one of the following injuries:

  • fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
  • amputations
  • any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight
  • any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs
  • serious burns (including scalding) which:
    • covers more than 10% of the body
    • causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
  • any scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
  • any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which:
    • leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness
    • requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hour

Other than this, accidents must also be reported if an employee is off work or unable to perform their usual work duties for more than seven consecutive days after the accident, including weekends. 

Employer’s disclosure

Very often, we will not have all the relevant evidence on which to make a full assessment of liability for your injury.  This is because the employer holds all the relevant records, such as risk assessments, maintenance records, training records, inspection logs etc.  When the employer responds to the letter of claim, if it denies full responsibility or argues that you should share some of the responsibility for the accident, then they should disclose all relevant documents. They should not cherry-pick the disclosed documents. 

If the employer does not disclose any documents, or if on reviewing what they have sent it is clear to us that not all relevant documents have been provided, then we will ask for these.  If they refuse or delay, we will apply to the court for an order requiring their disclosure.  At this stage, we should be able to give you a more accurate assessment of the prospects of your claim.

"They seem to go over and above for the client and are much easier to contact and deal with compared to most other legal firms. Steve Santy and Andy Shaw – both are extremely approachable and knowledgeable within their industry field"

Legal 500

"Andy Shaw and Steve Santy lead the team by example. It is obvious how client and rehabilitation focussed they are and that seems to permeate down through the team"

Legal 500

"Higgs is a well-known Black Country firm that frequently acts on severe and fatal personal injury cases. The firm is noted for its expert handling of head injury claims, burns and spinal cases, including those arising from RTAs, accidents at work and trips"

Chambers and Partners

Rehabilitation Code 2015 and Serious Injury Guide

The court’s pre-action protocol makes it clear that parties should cooperate in line with Rehabilitation Code 2015, in facilitating early rehabilitation.  However, there are weaknesses in the Rehabilitation Code, so we are also voluntary signatories of the Serious Injury Guide along with other specialist serious injury lawyers and many insurers.  This demonstrates our commitment to your rehabilitation and means that when the insurer or lawyer who represents the other party is also a signatory to the Serious Injury Guide, we can use it to your benefit.  In many serious injury cases we can arrange early rehabilitation, even if an insurer is still reserving its position on whether to accept liability for the injury.

In our team we also have a client support manager, who is a registered social worker.  She supports clients and their families, particularly in the early stages of a serious injury claim when an insurer may not yet be engaged.  The issues they support with are various, but they may especially be needed when a client is ready to be discharged from hospital, but their home is unsuited because of their injuries.  In these cases, the client support manager will liaise with the relevant local authority who have a statutory duty in the circumstances to provide support.

Medical evidence to support a works accident injury claim

In any work accident injury claim, the burden of proof rests with the claimant.  This means that even if an employer accepts responsibility for the injury, then the claimant must still prove the extent of the injuries caused due to the incident and their prognosis.  In addition, they must prove what other losses have reasonably been caused either in the incident, such as car repairs, or caused by the injury, such as loss of earnings or care.

This means that expert evidence is key in supporting the claim.  We work with leading expert witnesses across a range of medical disciplines to establish the full impact of the injuries.  This includes not only assessing the current situation, but also looking ahead and considering the chances of, for example, a deterioration in symptoms due to arthritis in a joint brought on by the accident, which may impact someone’s work capacity or care needs.  Another example may be someone with a brain injury who, as a result, may be at an increased risk of developing epilepsy.  For some people, if it occurred, it would prevent them from driving, or working at height or with machinery.  This clearly would have a significant impact on the value of a claim.  In fact, in such a case, we would advise the client that their interests would be best protected by settling their claim on a provisional basis.  This means that they could a agree a settlement on the assumption that the epilepsy will not occur but retaining the ability to claim further compensation for the full extent of their epilepsy injury and associated losses if the epilepsy did develop in the expected time frame.

Interim payments

Interim payments are another way in which we are able to support people with an injury.  A works accident injury can have a significant impact on someone’s ability to work.  This may only be for an initial period whilst they are receiving treatment and rehabilitation however, some people may never be able to return to their work or may have to take up different work.  It is also a fact that people with a disability are more likely to have time out of work and to have longer periods of unemployment compared to people without a disability. 

It is therefore unsurprising that many people with a serious injury will have financial needs.  When an insurer is engaged, we are often able to secure significant, early interim payments for clients.  In some instances, an insurer does not cooperate, so we advise clients on their option of applying to the court for an order.

Negotiate a settlement

When we have all the evidence needed to support a work accident injury claim, we will enter into negotiations with the insurer.  This could be by an exchange of settlement offers however, on more significant injury cases this may be done in a face-to-face meeting with the other party’s lawyers.  In these cases we will also involve a specialist injury barrister to assist in these meetings and, if a settlement is not agreed, the same barrister will help prepare and present your case at trial.

Why choose us as your work accident claim lawyers

Our highly specialised work accident claim team is made up of approachable, friendly lawyers who will guide you and your family through the process of pursuing a work accident claim.

Our specialist lawyers are vastly experienced in dealing with cases involving brain injury, spinal injury, amputations, serious orthopaedic injury, disease and occupational illness, chronic pain and severe psychological injuries.

Each member of our team shares a passion for putting clients and their families at the heart of everything we do. 

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Every client’s compensation depends on their injuries and circumstances. Our complex multiple injury solicitors recover compensation for:

  • pain, suffering and disability
  • case management costs
  • care costs
  • psychological treatment, counselling and support
  • assistive technology and IT
  • prostheses
  • vocational rehabilitation
  • loss of earnings and pension
  • specialist equipment and aids
  • additional costs of transport and mobility, including wheelchairs and adapted vehicles
  • home adaptations and costs of more suitable accommodation
  • medical or surgical treatment
  • special education (SEN) costs
  • Court of Protection deputyship costs

Rehabilitation costs

  • Rehabilitation Code funding - to get rehabilitation started as soon as possible
  • rehabilitation funding from interim payments
  • ongoing or future additional rehabilitation

Therapy costs

  • occupational therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • speech and language therapy
  • hydrotherapy

If we cannot reach a settlement, either because liability or the value of your injury claim is not agreed, we will advise you to start court proceedings.  We would prepare the necessary documents that have to be lodged with the court to start proceedings, and then serve them on the other party. 

Just because court proceedings are issued, it does not mean that the claim will necessarily have to be determined in a trial.  In many instances, the parties will continue to engage and negotiate however, in other matters the claim can only be settled by a judge at trial.

This means that the court process is about making sure that you and the other side get the matter ready, in a timely fashion, to be heard and decided by a judge.  This will include you disclosing all documents in your possession which are relevant to your claim, such as medical records and documents to prove your financial losses.  You and all of your witnesses will also have to give a witness statement, which are then exchanged simultaneously with the other party’s witness statements.  There will also be a timetable for the parties to update and complete their expert evidence, with the experts often meeting with each other to set out areas of their medical opinions where the agree, and where they disagree the reasons why.  Often the parties are also able to update a document which sets out what they think the claim is worth, and why.

The vast majority of cases are resolved amicably, even if court proceedings are begun.  When a claim is agreed or awarded by a court judgment, injury clients often still need support.  As a full-service law firm, we ae able to provide a holistic service to our clients.

For example, a number of clients will be on means-tested state benefits or may be in the future.  They are therefore advised to protect their entitlement to those benefits by putting their compensation into a trust, indeed, this is a step that that should do when they receive their first interim payment.  This is a service that our private client team can provide and the costs of doing so, can be included within the claim.

Similarly, some clients may lack mental capacity to handle their financial affairs as a result of their injury, if they had a brain injury.  In these cases, if they had not previously appointed an attorney then they will need help applying to the court of protection for a deputy to be appointed to look after their interests.  Our private client team can look after this process and even act as a deputy, if that is appropriate.  Again, the costs of the deputy can be included within the claim.

Even if none of these protections are necessary, clients who receive a significant sum of compensation, especially if it is intended to cover ongoing or future costs, will often need independent financial advice.  We can refer them to specialist independent financial advisers who understand the particular requirements of injury claimants.

Meet the work accident claim team