Accident Investigations Reduce Personal Injury Claim Amounts
Workplace personal injury claims are not like murder. You are not innocent until proven guilty. It is quite the reverse. Employers are vicariously liable for their employees actions. This means, as a business owner, You, are responsible for what happens on your site.
The Health and Safety Executive report that workplace injuries cost UK industry £16.2 billion* in 2018/19. This equates to an average of £19k per ill health case, £1.7 million per fatal injury accident and £8,800 per non-fatal workplace injury.
So, an accident happens and the starting point is you are potentially paying out 100% of the claim value. This can include payment for pain and suffering of the individual and the loss of earnings whilst they were injured and recovering.
How to Reduce the Amount of a Personal Injury Claim
As an employer, you need to prove you have taken actions so far as is reasonably practicable. This means firstly, you figure out what harm the employee could come to when they are doing the work you are paying them to do.
Then you look at how to reduce the likelihood of that harm actually happening. The steps you take to reduce the harm are control measures.
Finally, you calculate how much these control measures will cost. Consider both financial cost and the time implications. This process is your Risk Assessment.
So, back to the injury claim
When someone claims that they have sustained a personal injury whilst working for you, a letter of claim will be sent. The letter will have a Standard Disclosure List attached. Bearing in mind that personal injury claims can be made up to 3 years after an accident occurred, finding the documents can be a nightmare. Failure to find the documents will result in a successful claim for the injured person. If you can’t prove you took reasonably practicable steps to prevent harm to the individual, it will be considered that you didn’t.
Todays Accident Investigation is Tomorrows Claim Defence
By gathering the information listed on the standard disclosure list, your claim amount can be reduced. Drastically. The documents will prove, or should depending on how good your health and safety management is, contributory negligence. The more information you can provide that you have managed health and safety on site to the letter of the law, the more the claim amount will be reduced. It may also result in unviable claims, meaning that a solicitor won’t take the case on as there is not a good chance of winning.
*Source: Health and Safety Executive Report: Costs to Britain of workplace fatalities and self-reported injuries and ill health, 2018/19