Why Employer Responsibility is the Key Consideration in Accidents at Work Claims

 By: Sarah Shore
It is tempting to believe that injuries sustained after accidents at work are certain to reap compensation awards. But it is a mistake to jump so readily to that conclusion. As with everything to do with law and regulations, there are definite conditions that must be met before any injury compensation claim can be brought against an employer and have a chance of being successful.

It is because there can be no guarantee of success that injury lawyers will offer a no win no fee contract. Some people may believe that this practice is based on the idea that a successful claim is easy to achieve, and a solicitor would have to make a major error to fail. However, it is actually based on the fact that diligence and genuine knowledge are both required, and that sound advice against unlikely cases should be given to clients.

If, for example, a car accident claim is made when the fault of the accident lies with the claimant, compensation is highly unlikely to be granted. An experienced solicitor would have advised against a claim, and therefore avoided the court expenses that the claimant would have to face as a result.

The first rule of compensation cases is that the defendant, or the person against whom the claim is being made, is actually responsible for causing the accident or being neglectful in ensuring that no such accident had happened.

When it comes to places of work, this means that the employer is generally responsible for the well being of all employees, and the facilities and conditions of work should be such that injury and ill health should be a low risk. For employers, this means that surfaces are kept dry to prevent slipping, passages, walkways and stairwells are kept clear of obstacles, and that air quality, ventilation and heating standards met all all of the necessary regulations.

If an employee should suffer an injury in a workplace accident, then is it is generally expected that the employer is responsible for neglect. But there are actually three chief considerations for a case with employer responsibility just one of them.

The other two relate to whether or not the employer, having been responsible for the well being of the injured party, had indeed failed to meet that responsibility, and whether the actual injury sustained was a direct consequence of that employer neglect.

Neither of these facts are so straight forward to prove. For example, a claimant may believe that his employer is directly responsible should he slip on a stairwell and break an ankle. However, if the claimant is shown to have been fooling around at the time, or be under the influence of alcohol or some other substance, it is likely change the situation and relieve the employer of responsibility.

Also, a claimant may state that her sore neck developed as a direct result of having to sit in an inadequate chair at her desk, thereby claiming that her employer has failed to ensure working conditions were at a satisfactory standard. However, if her sore neck is proven to have been the result of a minor whiplash injury in an earlier traffic incident, the claimant will see her case fail.

The point is that there are clear definitions and conditions that must be satisfied before a case can be successful. The key condition is that the employer was responsible in the first place. After that is established, the other conditions follow.

And this is why evidence and witness reports are so important in each case. The clear facts provided by both can ascertain whether or not the incident occurred due to the neglect of the employer or whether the fault lies more on the shoulders of the injured party.

Any skilled and experienced solicitor will be able to present a clear case, or evaluate the events to decide if the case is more likely to fail. By offering a no win no fee contract, it can be accepted that the solicitor is confident of success and will work diligently for the claimant.

This, of course, relates to all areas of compensation law, regardless of whether a car accident claim or injury at work claim is being made. Once it is shown that an employer was negligent, claims after accidents at work are usually settled out of court, and rarely go in front of a judge.
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