Can I Sue Employer For Negligence Leading To Injuries? – Compensation Guide For Claims Against My Employer
Can I Sue For Negligence By My Employer?
By Fern Mitchell. Last Updated 7th April 2021. Welcome to our guide, looking at the question “can I sue my employer for negligence?”. Have you been harmed in a workplace accident? Were you injured because of the negligent actions of an employer or college? Have you experienced an assault in the workplace or been subject to emotional distress or anxiety because of how your employer treated you (in a negligent way)? If so, you may wish to find out if you are eligible to sue your employer and how you could go about doing so.
In the following sections, we shall answer questions such as ‘can I sue my employer for an injury?’ and ‘can I sue my employer for stress and anxiety?’ and look at how much you could be eligible to claim in our personal injury claims calculator. We shall also take a look at what health and safety duties your employer has to you and what could happen if these duties are not fulfilled.
To find out more about how an employee can sue an employer for negligence, please read further. When you are ready to make a claim, you can start the process by calling us on 0800 073 8804.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Suing An Employer For Negligence Leading To Injuries
- What Is Employer Negligence That You Could Sue For?
- What Duty Of Care Does An Employer Have To Safeguard Employees?
- When May Your Employer Be Held To Be Negligent?
- What Reasons Could I Sue My Employer For?
- Can I Sue My Employer For Negligence Leading To Breaches In Health And Safety?
- Could I Sue For Intentional Harm?
- Emotional Distress Caused By Negligence
- What Do You Need To Prove To Make A Negligence Claim Against Your Employer?
- Could I Sue My Employer If Another Employee Was Negligent?
- How To Claim Compensation From An Employer For Injuries Caused By Negligence
- Employer Negligence Personal Injury Claims Calculator (Updated April 2021)
- No Win No Fee Employer Negligence Compensation Claims
- Contact A Legal Expert
- Further Helpful Resources
- Employer negligence claim FAQs
This guide article looks at how and when you could be eligible to claim compensation or ‘sue’ your employer for negligence on their part, which has caused you to be harmed in an accident. Below shall start by looking at what employer negligence is before moving on to examine some reasons for which you could be able to sue an employer for negligence in the UK.
You could also find out more about different types of accident at work claim and ways in which our team could help you in our more general accident at work claims guide.
Employer negligence could take many different forms and lead to many different injuries or accidents. Circumstances in which an employer could be considered to be negligent may include;
- Situations where an employer has not provided you with the right or necessary health and safety training or equipment. Employers are legally required to do so (to their best ability) and to ensure your safety.
- Workplace vehicle accidents.
- Negligence in the hiring of other staff members. An employer may not have conducted the correct background checks, such as not having carried out a CRB check if necessary.
- Equipment or machinery may not have been correctly maintained. Employers have to ensure that any equipment being used by their employees is properly maintained for safe usage.
- Situations where you were allowed to either use machinery which you were not trained to use or which is known to be unsafe.
- Where you were not issued with the right equipment to keep you safe.
- Situations where the overall workplace is not safe. There may be hazards left about which could cause accidents or injuries.
- Where you were able to (and did) contact a workplace illness.
If you need to claim compensation in any of these or other circumstances, please talk to a personal injury solicitor or personal injury lawyer from our team.
Employers in the UK have a legal duty of care to make sure that any and every employee (regardless of the nature of their employment – part, full or contract employment) is not exposed to any harm or injury when at work. This includes psychological and physical harm.
This duty of care extends to any responsibilities or tasks which the employee has. They must follow requisite health and safety requirements. Workers should be protected in the workplace from anxiety and stress as well as harassment and bullying. In accord with this, duties of care may be present in different ways.
If an employer has failed in the provision of their duty of care or does not resolve a grievance a staff member has, the employee may be able to show that the employer has failed in their duty of care.
Such failures may have a serious and detrimental effect on the value that the employee feels from their employer. In the long-term, such a loss of a feeling of value is also not good for a business. If the employee who was injured resigns or claims constructive dismissal because of this breach, the employer may be open to a negligence claim.
Accident at work statistics
In 2018/19, according to information released by HSE, there was a cost of £16.2 to workforces in Great Britain as a result of workplace injury and illness. In 2019/20, there were 65,427 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR.
As the graph below shows, the leading cause of working days lost as far as illness is concerned in 2019/20 was stress, depression and anxiety. These also accounted for the most instances of new ill-health reported in the same timeframe.
While the statistics released by HSE don’t relate to negligence, there are various ways your employer could act negligently to you in a way that causes stress, depression or anxiety.
The number of self-reported injuries to workers as reported by the Labour Force Survey has been on the decline since 2000, although the downward trend has not been as consistent as in the numbers of non-fatal injuries reported to RIDDOR in the same time period. Since 2000, the number of employer-reported injuries has almost halved from 466 to 238. The number of self-reported injuries has dropped from 3,980 to 2,160.
In the UK, there are various pieces of legislation that are designed to protect people in the workplace. In addition to these laws, there are also guidelines from bodies such as the HSE with further recommendations for how employees and workplaces should be kept safe.
With that notes, every employer in the UK has to follow regulations from the HSE as well as any relevant laws in addition to their more general duty of care. This extends to employees who are full time or part-time as well as those employed under contracts or who are self-employed.
Some of the different employer duties of care that apply are;
- That regular risk assessments must be carried out.
- That any employee must be properly trained.
- That job roles must be clearly defined.
- That workplaces should be safe to work in.
- To make sure that bullying does not take place in the workplace and that there is discrimination at work.
- To monitor working hours and ensure they are not excessive.
- To provide a space for rest.
- To give an employee a channel to communicate their concerns about the workplace, employer or colleagues safely.
To find out more about employer negligence and breaches of duty of care, please see our additional guide looking at employees rights.
Now that we have looked at the question of ‘can I sue for negligence from my employer’, we will look at the reasons as to why people could be able to claim or sue. There are several reasons for which you could be able to sue an employer. These do include;
- If you were wrongfully dismissed or felt that you were constructively dismissed.
- If you were the victim of workplace stress, anxiety or harassment, which the employer negligently allowed to happen or continue.
- General accidents in the workplace.
- Illnesses related to stress and/ or anxiety.
If you have been injured, become sick or have suffered an illness because of your work or workplace, you could be eligible to sue your employer. You could also be able to claim for personal injuries caused by an employer allowing violence in the workplace to occur.
Your claim would be about the injury suffered, not legal action about the breach itself. Any actions relating to breaches in regulations would usually be taken by safety inspectors.
So far, we have looked at circumstances in which you could claim compensation for circumstances in which an accident was caused by negligence. It is sad to say that there are also times in which someone could suffer harm in the workplace through intentional actions.
In these circumstances, the claimant would have been harmed by deliberate action. This may include harm arising from bullying in the workplace (either physical, verbal or psychological), assaults, the causing of emotional distress and anxiety, false imprisonment or other similar actions committed against a claimant.
There are also times in which you could sue an employer for an injury that was caused by what could be termed as willful and serious misconduct. In such instances, the negligence on the part of the employer would need to be so bad that it could be seen to be equivalent to being intentional.
Stress, distress and anxiety can be caused by a person’s working environment or work role. These may be called work-related stress or WRS. These conditions could lead to the claimant having problems with day-to-day life outside of work. It could be caused by unhappiness or pressures when at work. This may be from unreasonable deadlines, abuse or the worry of losing a job.
Causes of work-related stress may include,
- If there is a bad overall culture in the workplace which leads to people being very anxious or stressed.
- Having too much oversight or guidance, not allowing a person to use judgement and being pushed into too regimented a workplace.
- Having a workload that is too high or which has too tight deadlines causing pressure and stress.
- Not having a sufficient workload.
- Not being properly trained or allowed to have the right experience to carry out job roles or tasks therein. A worker may be concerned with their ability to carry out their job.
- Similarly, if people are promoted above what they think they could do or could cope with, they could also experience work-related stress. This may be the case with a person in a management role.
- Not feeling supported or an overall lack of support at work.
- Worrying about the security of your job and the possibility of either being made redundant or fired.
- Being abused or harassed when in the workplace. This could be by a colleague or manager.
- Weak or poor management could lead to a person suffering stress in the workplace.
- Workplaces that are very uncomfortable. This may be due to a workplace being far too hot or cold.
Later in this article, we shall look at articles of evidence that could help you and your solicitor to make a successful claim. However, below we shall look at two specific areas in which you need proof or evidence in order to make a claim.
Report who is responsible
As soon as possible, you need to make sure that your employer has been notified that the accident took place and that led to your injury. You need to make sure that you accurately and correctly record the accident in the employer’s accident report book and note the party responsible for the accident taking place.
Proof of the injury
You need to have some form of proof that clearly demonstrates that the accident and injury are connected. This may be witness statements, medical evidence or photographs of the accident and injury.
In brief, it may be possible for you to sue your employer if another employee acted in a negligent way and caused your accident or injuries. How to sue your employer in the UK for the actions of another employee may be more complex than more common accident at work claims.
Can I sue my employer for negligence in the UK when another employee caused my accident? If you are able to make a claim, it is likely that it could be brought as a claim for vicarious liability. It is more likely that you should sue an employer for negligence caused by another employee as the fellow employee may not have the funds to meet the claim themselves. The employer will have insurance in place from which compensation could be claimed.
To claim under vicarious liability, the employee who is said to have been negligent must have been carrying out their work duties. This means that at the time of the accident, the colleague who was said to be responsible for the accident must have been carrying out their usual work duties in which they acted in a negligent fashion.
Suing an employer for an accident caused by another employee is a more complex area of compensation claim unless dealing with a claim for a workplace assault. Learn more by getting in touch with our team and seeing if you could make a claim.
Now that we have looked at some circumstances in which you could sue an employer to answer the initial question of “can I sue my employer for negligence”, we shall look at how to sue your employer in the UK.
The first thing which we will say is that whilst there is no legal requirement for you to use a personal injury lawyer or accident at work solicitor, if you do not do so, you may not benefit from the advice and legal expertise which they may be able to provide.
Having as much evidence as possible could help to make your personal injury claim more likely to succeed. In addition to gathering evidence, if you have been harmed in the workplace and are looking to sue your employer for stress in the UK or for an injury, there are steps that you need to take. Evidence that you could collect to support your claim may include:
- Photographic evidence of both the scene of the accident and of any injuries which have been caused to you. In instances where you are asking, “can you sue your employer for emotional distress” this may not be applicable.
- Evidence that you reported the accident to your employer, such as copies of reports in your employer’s accident report book.
- Medical evidence may include any notes or reports from a doctor, hospital or paramedic who treated you. You may subsequently be asked to have a medical assessment as part of your claim.
- Evidence reported by witnesses, such as a witness statement from anyone who either saw the accident happen or the circumstances which could/ did lead to the accident happening.
You may wish to familiarise yourself with your employer’s procedure for reporting accidents at work or work-related stress, as well as general grievance reporting procedures. If you can not resolve the complaint directly with your employer, you may need to claim with a solicitor for compensation.
How long do I have to sue for work-related injuries? There is a personal injury claim time limit of three years (this time limit is variable in some circumstances) in which to bring a claim. This could help to make the process go a bit quicker or bring additional legal knowledge and relieve the burden of making a claim yourself.
Now that you have learned more about employer negligence and duty of care, when you could sue your employer and how long you have to sue for work-related injuries, you may wish to see how much compensation you could claim. This is why we have included a personal injury claims calculator.
In this table, we have included examples of different injuries as well as details of these injuries and the upper and lower recommendations for compensation set by the Judicial College guidelines. Read below the table to see other types of compensation which may be included in your claim.
|Type of injury||Seriousness||Comments||Potential settlement|
|Brain damage||Very Severe||In these cases, there will be little, if any, evidence of meaningful response to environment, little or no language function, double incontinence and the need for full-time nursing care.||£264,650 to £379,100|
|Brain damage||Moderately Severe||The injured person will be very seriously disabled. There will be substantial dependence on others and a need for constant professional and other care.||£205,580 to £264,650|
|Brain damage||Moderate||These cases include intellectual deficit of varying degrees, personality changes and a risk of epilepsy||£40,410 to £205,580|
|Neck||Severe||The top of this bracket will include injuries associated with incomplete paraplegia or resulting in permanent spastic quadriparesis. To the bottom of the bracket will be injuries causing fractures or dislocations or severe damage to soft tissues and/or ruptured tendons that lead to chronic conditions.||£42,680 to £139,210|
|Neck||Moderate||Ranging from moderate soft tissue injuries where the period of recovery has been fairly protracted and where there remains an increased vulnerability to further trauma, to injuries such as fractures or dislocations which cause severe immediate symptoms and which may necessitate spinal fusion.||£7,410 to £36,120|
|Back||Severe||Cases of the most severe injury involving damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots. This bracket will also cover cases of disc lesions or fractures of discs or of vertebral bodies or soft tissue injuries leading to chronic conditions.||£36,390 to £151,070|
|Back||Moderate||Can include instances such as, but not limited to, a compression/crush fracture of the lumbar vertebrae where there is a substantial risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain and discomfort, soft tissue injuries resulting in a prolonged acceleration and/or exacerbation of a pre-existing back condition, and prolapsed discs necessitating laminectomy or resulting in repeated relapses.||£11,730 to £36,390|
|Shoulder injuries||Severe||Often associated with neck injuries and involving damage to the brachial plexus resulting in significant disability.||£18,020 to £45,070|
|Shoulder injuries||Serious||Includes cases of dislocation of the shoulder and damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus causing pain in shoulder and neck, aching in elbow, sensory symptoms in the forearm and hand, and weakness of grip or a fractured humerus leading to restricted shoulder movement.||£11,980 to £18,020|
|Leg injury||Very Severe||Amputation of one or both legs, above or below the knee||£91,950 to £264,650|
|Leg injury||Severe||Includes injuries where there is gross shortening of the leg, or where fractures have not united and extensive bone grafting has been undertaken.||£90,320 to £127,530|
|Leg injury||Very Serious||Injuries leading to permanent problems with mobility, the need for crutches or mobility aids for the remainder of the injured person’s life will be included in this bracket.||£51,460 to £85,600|
As the function of compensation is to return you to a similar state to that which you would have been in had you not been injured, there are other forms of compensation you could claim. Personal injury claims do not just compensate you for the injury itself. They may also compensate you for the financial and other effects that the accident and injury had on you.
These may include (but are not limited to) the following;
- Compensation for accrued and potential future medical bills.
- Compensation for related care costs.
- The cost of adapting either your home or your vehicle.
- Income and benefits which have been lost due to your injury.
- Additional travel costs, such as those accrued when travelling to related medical appointments.
This illustrates some of the different types of compensation that you could be eligible to claim for in addition to compensation directly for your injuries. The amount of compensation you receive is likely to be largely made up of compensation for your injury itself.
A quick online search shows that one of the most commonly searched for terms surrounding employer negligence and work accident claims is “How much does it cost to sue an employer?”. Understandably anyone who has suffered an injury at work may also have found their income affected and be hesitant about taking actions they may think could be expensive.
No win no fee agreements remove some of these barriers and potential risks. There are no fees payable upfront, and you will not be asked to may payments during the claims process to cover any solicitors expenses. The agreement should set out the conditions in which you will and won’t need to pay your solicitor at the end of your claim.
In general, you pay when you win your claim. If you make a successful claim, such as suing your employer for negligent infliction of emotional distress and are awarded compensation, a portion of this will be paid in solicitors fees. How much is charged is regulated, so you won’t find your settlement being eaten up by legal fees.
You can read more about how no win no fee claims work and how and when a personal injury solicitor could help you in our no win no fee guide.
If you are asking the question ‘can I sue my employer for negligence’ which caused you harm, or wondering how you could go about making a personal injury claim, Legal Expert could help you. Our personal injury solicitors could assess your case (looking at the cause of your accident and how you were injured) and advise you as to whether you could successfully sue an employer for negligence.
If they think you could make a claim, they could then advise and guide you through the claims process. We understand that having been injured in the workplace and being unsure as to whether you can sue your employer for negligence could cause anxiety, and we will try to make the process as quick and easy as we can.
In order to produce this guide, we have used a combination of resources which you can find in the references section below as well as those which have been referenced in the guide itself. Here you can find out more about your rights as an employee in the UK.
Learn more about employment rights in the UK at this Government resource.
Employers Liability Insurance
All businesses with employees must have employers liability insurance in place in case of personal injury claims.
HSE – Applying The Law
Find out when and how Civil or Health and Safety Law apply instances of employer negligence in the UK.
Employers Responsibility To Your Health
Find out more about employer negligence and duty of care in this resource from the Health and Safety Executive.
What is an employer’s duty of care?
When you’re working, your employer has a duty of care to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that you can carry out your roles free from the risk of harm.
Do all employers have a duty of care?
Yes. It doesn’t matter how big or small the company is; every employer has the responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers while at work according to employment law.
How can my employer fulfil their duty of care in the workplace?
There are several actions outlined by the Health and Safety Executive that constitute fulfilment of the employer’s duty of care, including things like maintaining good housekeeping and undertaking regular risk assessments.
How long do I have to sue my employer for negligence?
The personal injury claims time limit is three years. If you’re claiming for an occupational disease or illness, these three years run from when you knew (or should have known) that your symptoms were work-related.
Can I be sacked for making a claim against my negligent employer?
No. It’s your right to seek compensation, and if you lose your job as a result, this could constitute unfair dismissal.
Can I claim against a negligence employer if I’m self-employed?
Yes. If you’re a self-employed person working for a company who acts negligently, then you have the same rights as any full-time employee of that company when it comes to making a claim for worker compensation.
Who is responsible for health and safety at work?
Although we’ve focussed on the duty of care owed to you by your employer, every employee has a responsibility to ensure that they and their colleagues can carry out their roles safely.
How much could I receive in a claim against my negligent employer?
This depends on the injuries you’ve sustained, from their severity to how long they will affect you. To find out more about how much you could be owed, get in touch with us today.
Thank you for reading our guide, looking at the question “can I sue my employer for negligence?”.