Construction Injury Compensation Claims
Despite improvements in the safety of building sites in the UK, construction injury claims for compensation still account for the most devastating workplace injuries found in any industry. A further 50 fatal construction injuries were recorded in the UK in 2011, which represented not only the highest rate per thousand workers of any industry, but also the highest rate among self-employed workers.
Indeed, if you have sustained any injury on a building site for which you were not to blame; your employment status may be just one of a number of complications which could affect the process for making construction injury claims in the UK. Establishing negligence, completing procedures, negotiating settlements and ensuring that you receive your maximum entitlement to construction injury compensation can all be difficult at a time when you are recovering from a serious injury.
No two construction injury claims are identical – even if the injuries sustained are the same – and although this guide provides some basic information about claiming construction injury compensation in the UK, it is no substitute for speaking with an experienced construction injury claims solicitor and undergoing an individual assessment of your claim at the first possible opportunity.
Eligibility to Make Construction Injury Claims in the UK
In order to be eligible to make construction injury claims in the UK, you must have sustained a measureable injury due to the negligence of somebody who had a duty of care towards you. The injury could be psychological – brought on by a particularly distressing event – physical or a combination of the two; but it must occurred because somebody who had responsibility for providing you with a safe environment in which to work was careless.
There are a number of ways in which carelessness can manifest on a building site – and justify construction injury claims for compensation - from inadequate training or supervision of workers, to ignoring health and safety regulations, to the failure to perform a risk assessment and provide personal protective equipment where necessary.
These responsibilities may not always be the duty of an employer – if you are self-employed or an agency worker, health and safety could be the responsibility of a site manager or the site owner – and the “employer” may not be directly responsible for an accident caused by a work colleague. Nonetheless, should you sustain an injury on a building site in an accident which could have been avoided if reasonable care and attention had been paid, you should be eligible to make construction injury claims for compensation.
Your Health is More Important than Construction Injury Claims
One very important element of construction injury claims is to receive the right treatment as soon as possible after an injury has been sustained. For major construction injuries, it is unlikely that you would have had a choice of whether to attend hospital or not; as an ambulance would have been summoned for you and emergency treatment administered on site prior to being taken to the closest A&E Department.
However, many people sustain construction injuries on building sites that they do not consider sufficiently important to warrant immediate attention beyond superficial first aid treatment. This can be a mistake if you are contemplating a claim for construction injury as, if you choose to “work through the pain”, you could be damaging your entitlement to construction injury compensation as well as your health.
Where there is a gap between an accident occurring on a building site and a record of an injury being sustained in a claimant´s medical notes, it could be alleged that you contributed to the severity of your injuries by your own lack of care in the intervening period. Although this will not disqualify you from making construction injury claims in the UK (unless you failed to see a doctor at all), it could affect how much compensation for a construction injury you receive.
Procedures Prior to Claiming Construction Injury Compensation
Therefore, before you make claims for construction injury compensation it is vital that you undergo a medical examination from a qualified doctor to establish the extent and severity of your injury, how long it may take you to recover from your injuries and when – if ever – you will be able to return to work. These details need to be recorded in your medical notes and a solicitor given access to them.
Other procedures you should try to complete whenever possible to support construction injury claims in the UK are:
- Make a report of your accident and injury in the building site´s “Accident Report Book”. If your accident is of a certain nature, or results in an absence of more than seven days from work, the person responsible for health and safety on the building site is legally obliged to report it to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
- Collect photographic evidence of the hazard which was responsible for your construction injury. Often, when a breach in health and safety results in an accident being sustained on a building site, evidence of negligence is quickly removed or repaired. Most mobile phones these days have a camera facility and if you – or a colleague if you are unable – can take a photograph which proves negligence, it will considerably support your construction injury claim.
- Again only if you are able and without putting yourself at risk of greater injury, compile a list of colleagues who saw how your injury was sustained and who would be prepared to provide a statement to support your claim for construction injury compensation. Even just by speaking with colleagues, you may find out about previous incidents of negligence which lead to a construction injury which may have gone unreported.
The severity of your injuries may not allow you to complete any of these procedures prior to claiming construction injury compensation, in which case you should speak with a construction injury claims solicitor to find out how he or she can help you develop your claim for construction injury compensation.
Making Claims for Construction Injury Compensation in the UK
Once you – or a construction injury claims solicitor on your behalf - have completed the initial procedures, your solicitor will compile a Letter of Claim to the person responsible for health and safety on the building site. This is not a letter stating how much compensation for a construction injury you are claiming, just a letter advising the negligent party that you are making a construction injury claim for compensation and why.
The negligent party has twenty-one days to acknowledge the letter and a further three months in which to inform your solicitor whether he accepts liability for your construction injury or not. If he does accept that his lack of care was responsible for your injuries, your solicitor will calculate how much compensation for a construction injury you are entitled to and enter into negotiations with the negligent party´s insurers.
Should the negligent party deny his liability; your solicitor will issue court proceedings against him. This often has the effect of bringing the two sides to the negotiating table and usually the prospect of court action will persuade the negligent party to settle construction injury claims in the UK. However, should a negotiated settlement of your claim for construction injury compensation not be possible, litigation in court may be necessary.
How Much Compensation for Construction Injury Claims Should You Expect?
How much compensation for construction injury claims you will entitled to will depend on the nature and severity of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to your construction site accident. The impact that your injury has made to your quality of life will be taken into account along with any psychological injury – for example if you lose your confidence to work at height after a fall.
Construction injury claims also should ensure that you are no worse off financially than if your accident had never happened. Therefore, you should also be able to recover any expenses you have incurred which are directly attributable to your injury, along with any loss of earnings, overtime and pension contributions.
How much compensation for construction injury claims you receive may be reduced if – as mentioned above – you have contributed to your injuries by delaying a medical attention without due justification, or if it is determined that you contributed to the cause of your construction site accident by your own lack of care. In this scenario, a percentage proportion of blame will be attributed to your contributory negligence and your construction injury claims settlement adjusted accordingly.
Offers of Settlement for Construction Injury Claims
In the UK, construction injury claims are among the most valuable injury claim settlements, and frequently insurance companies will attempt to reduce their financial liability by making a direct approach to the victim of an injury with an offer of compensation. These offers of compensation for construction injury claims rarely consider the full gravity of your situation and are made without any kind of assessment.
Any offer of settlement that you may receive, which is not forthcoming from your solicitor, should be treated with caution. Although it is good news that the insurance company admits their client´s negligence and wish to settle your construction injury claim for compensation quickly, it is important that you receive your maximum entitlement to construction injury compensation to support your family or cover the costs of medical bills while you are recovering.
If you are tempted to accept an offer of settlement due to concerns about your short-term finances, speak with your solicitor. As the insurance company has admitted their client´s negligence, it should be possible to organise interim payments of construction injury compensation until such time as your claim is fully resolved. This is a far better solution than accepting an inappropriate amount of construction injury compensation in haste for, if it proves to be inadequate for your needs, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more.
Free Construction Injury Claims Advice
Construction injury claims in the UK have the potential to become complicated and prolonged without the assistance of an experienced construction injury claims solicitor. Many construction injury claims solicitors will offer “No Win, No Fee” legal representation if your claim for construction injury compensation is likely to be successful, and most solicitors also offer a free assessment of your claim before you have to make any decision about whether to proceed with a claim for a construction injury or not.
Indeed, by calling our Construction Injuries Compensation Service and speaking directly with a construction injury claims solicitor, you will find out in one quick telephone call whether you have a claim for construction injury compensation which is worth your while to pursue and whether you qualify to make a “No Win, No Fee” construction injury claim.
All calls to our Construction Injuries Compensation Service are completely confidential and no pressure will be put on you to proceed with a claim. Our lines are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and we also operate a free call-back service if you would like to discuss the circumstances of your construction site injury, but now is not a good time to do so.
You are unique, and the way in which your injury has affected your quality of life is unique also. Make sure you receive the most relevant and up-to-date advice about construction injury claims from the Construction Injuries Compensation Service by calling our phone number today.