I pulled some ligaments in my back and now I can barely move, even sleeping is difficult. What process do successful claims for a lifting injury at work generally follow?
Claims for a lifting injury at work must prove that negligence on behalf of the employer resulted in the accident and consequently an injury to the claimant. In order to do so substantial evidence must be gathered to support the claim. The priority in the immediate aftermath of the accident however, must be your health. Having a doctor or GP examine your injury will ensure there is a record of the injury contained in your medical history; this will ensure that the negligent party’s insurers cannot allege that you adversely affect your injury by failing to seek adequate professional care.
Once you have received medical attention, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer who will advise on evidence you should seek to gather. Successful claims for a lifting injury at work require strong evidence to support them, therefore you should take photographs and make a note of the official weight of the items you moved and any CCTV footage of the accident should be obtained if possible. It is also recommended that you gather contact details of witnesses who saw the incident as their testimony may prove useful later.
Once you have gathered this information, you should make a note of your injury describing how it occurred in your employer’s ‘Accident Report Book’. Although it is worth remembering that you are not obliged to mention who you believe is responsible for the incident in this note.
To initiate your compensation claim, your lawyer will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to your employer’s insurance company notifying them about your intention to claim compensation. They then have 21 days to acknowledge the letter and a further 90 days to indicate whether they accept liability for your injury.
If responsibility for the accident is accepted, your lawyer will enter into negotiations with the insurance company to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to claim.
If they do not accept liability for your injury, your lawyer will initiate court action subject to your approval. However claims for a lifting injury at work do not usually end up in court and even if your lawyer does begin court proceedings, it is quite possible your employer’s insurers may offer to settle rather than risk a potentially expensive court case.