Legal Guide: What Happens If You Suffer A Serious Injury During An Accident At Work?
TreatmentIf a serious head injury, neck injury or back injury is sustained during an accident at work, it is likely that there will be a need for substantial ongoing treatment. When this is necessary, initially a medical report might be obtained from an orthopaedic surgeon, as in an accident at work claim involving a less severe injury, but in addition it is likely that a nurse will be involved to prepare a Rehabilitation Report. This will not only cover treatment, but will look into the detail of what improvements can be made to improve the quality of life of the accident victim (the claimant).House ModificationsThe nurse may recommend that modifications need to be made to the existing house to make access to and within the property suitable for the claimant. If the claimant is wheelchair bound a ramp may be needed to access their home. They might also need internal doorways widened to allow access for the wheelchair, and a room downstairs might need to be converted into a bedroom and a bathroom.In some cases it will not be practical to alter an existing property and the purchase of a new property may be recommended by the nurse.Housing costs can form a major part of the compensation claim for a serious injury sustained at work.Equipment NeededIn addition to housing alterations or moving property, the claimant may need aids and equipment to help them with their day to day living. This might include a variety of items and will be specific to the claimant, but this can include: * Walking aids * Wheelchairs * Hand grips around the house * Mechanical chairs and bedsEmploymentOften a serious injury prevents the claimant from returning to their pre-accident employment. The rehabilitation report can recommend retraining to a new position if this is possible and the cost of any retraining can be reclaimed.If the claimant is unable to work, the solicitor will need to carry out a detailed assessment of the likely earnings of the claimant for the remainder of their working life. This will involve including any promotions the claimant was likely to receive leading to increased pay, as well as any bonuses and overtime lost. Evidence will be obtained from the employer and colleagues to assess the likely career path of the claimant had he or she not been injured. Once all of this has been compiled and when a settlement is negotiated, a discount will be applied to represent the fact that the claimant is receiving the earnings from the rest of his career in one lump sum often years before he would have retired.Pain, Suffering and Loss of AmenityThe other substantial part of the Claimants claim for compensation will be for their physical pain and suffering. This is assessed using previously decided cases and based upon the medical evidence.Another often separate consideration for a more substantial claim is the claimant’s loss of amenity. This relates to the loss of enjoyment of past times and hobbies, such as sporting activities that the claimant can no longer participate in, but also other losses such as being unable to pick up or play with their children.ConclusionAn accident at work leading to a serious injury with lifetime consequences requires more evidence to support the claim and will lead to a much larger than average compensation payment. An experienced work accident claims solicitor will be able to prepare all of the evidence required to support the claim for compensation, allowing the claimant to rebuild their life as well as they possibly can.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
You can find out all of your rights if you have been Injured At Work?For a comprehensive and free guide to accidents at work, see our Read our free Work Accidents Guide.Nick Jervis is a solicitor (non-practising) and a consultant to Work Accident Solicitors who specialise in Work Accident Claims.
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