Health and Safety News

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Legal changes make it harder for employees to win compensation

The implementation of new laws in October 2013 will make it more difficult for employees who have been injured at work to make a successful claim for damages, according to a legal expert.

This could lead to thousands of workers being unsuccessful in claiming compensation for injuries sustained at work due to changes due to new changes in relation to Health and Safety laws.

James Barker from Kirwans law firm said that the changes introduced by the UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act means that the onus will be on the employee to prove that their employer was negligent. They will also need to prove that the employer was in breach of the duty of care which they owe to the employee, rather than on the employer to demonstrate that they followed legal guidelines.

The financial fallout could be huge for those injured at work, with government statistics revealing that in 2011-2012:

  • 1.1 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness;
  • 172 workers were killed at work;
  • 111,000 injuries to employees were reported.

Mr Barker explained: “The biggest myth amongst workers is that they will be dismissed if they sue their employer following an accident at work. Fortunately, as long as the claim is valid, there are laws in place to ensure that this does not happen.

“However, employees need to be aware that the change in legislation means that it will be much more difficult to claim for injuries sustained whilst at work, especially with regards to cases where defective work equipment is involved.

“They can still instruct a solicitor to progress their claim, and I would advise instructing a specialist personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the forthcoming changes, but it will be up to the client to collect evidence to demonstrate that their employer has been negligent.

“Surprisingly, the new rules will make it easier for public sector workers to pursue a successful a claim than employees in the private sector. European regulations mean that any body which provides public sector services are tied by European Rules and Directives relating to accidents at work.”




For more information please call Rachael Tinniswood on 07846 406487.

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