Suffering an accident at work can be a harrowing experience. Not only do you have the injury itself to cope with, there’s also a concern that how you react to that accident may jeopardise your position within the company or even the company’s fortunes. But any accident at work that can be proven to be the responsibility of the employer can and should be pursued, no matter what. Not only does the employer have a duty of care towards all their employees, but your actions may prevent someone else being injured in the same way. So how long have you got to press a claim?
Work Accident Claims- the time limits
Few people are aware of the three year limitation period on making a claim. This means that you must claim within three years from the date of the accident. Alternatively, if a medical condition is diagnosed and a working environment is cited as the primary cause of the injury or illness, you then have three years to pursue a claim from the date of the diagnosis. This is stipulated in Section 14 of the Limitation Act 1980 and takes effect when the claimant has knowledge of the fact that the work injury is significant, that the injury is a result of an act that could be considered to constitute negligence, nuisance or breach of duty or the identity of the defendant.
But despite this three year period, the hard truth is that a claim for an injury at work should be started as soon as possible after the event. If you leave it for too long, evidence or witness statements crucial to the claim may be lost. The earlier you can begin proceedings, the fresher the events are in your mind and the more accurate your statement and that of any witnesses will be.
If you are able to, taking photographs of the location is advised. This will show clearly any mitigating circumstances that may have caused the accident in the first place, and can act as powerful testimony in supporting your claim. If this is left until later then the situation may have radically changed, negating any chance you may have of using it as evidence in your case. By gathering as much evidence as possible at the time, you have a far better chance of using that evidence as the basis for your claim.
Making a work injury claim at the earliest possible opportunity after the event helps in establishing a strong case for compensation, particularly if the evidence shows your employer to be negligent in his or her duty of care and commitment to your safety in a workplace environment. But with some cases, an injury or illness may not become apparent immediately. In these cases, the three year limitation period starts from the date of diagnosis. This covers illnesses such as mesolthelioma (caused by exposure to asbestos), Raynauds Disease or Vibration White Finger from excessive use of power tools or Repetitive Strain Injury. Stress is also becoming an increasingly prevalent reason for many people bringing a claim, although because it is inherently difficult to prove a causal link between a working environment and stress, many claims experts are reluctant to take on stress-related cases. Many of these longer term injuries and illnesses rely on a specific diagnosis by medical experts to correlate them to a specific cause, and it is this evidence that is essential in bringing a successful claim.
In all work injury compensation claims, talking to an expert solicitor is the first step in pursuing a compensation claim. They will be able to tell you honestly whether your claim has a real chance of succeeding. To help them do this, you will need to present them with clear evidence for the cause of the injury or illness, which is why it is important to start the process as quickly as possible after the event, while it is still fresh in your mind and the evidence is available to substantiate the claim. Leave it too long and you may miss the opportunity to claim the compensation you deserve.
Strict time limits apply to your claim, so call our experts today.
Want to know how to claim compensation for an injury at work? Don’t miss your chance to win the compensation you deserve! Get in touch with our Work Accident Solicitors today to get the claims process started.
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