I believe I have sustained a manual handling injury at work as my back has been giving me trouble ever since we were asked to do some heavy lifting. I believe I may be entitled to make a compensation claim but I’m worried about what my employers will think; what should I do?

A manual handling injury at work has the potential to be very serious therefore your health should be your first priority in this situation. You should seek professional medical care from your GP or visit a hospital to help prevent your condition from deteriorating. This is useful for the purposes of any potential compensation claim for a manual handling injury at work as it will ensure there is a medical record of your injury. Generally, it is very difficult to successfully claim compensation for a personal injury if there is no record of the injury ever occurring as the negligent party’s insurers may trivialise the claim.

Once you have received adequate medical care, you are advised to begin gathering evidence to substantiate your compensation claim. It is natural, of course, to worry about making a compensation claim for a manual handling injury at work against your employers; however it is important to remember that your claim is against your employer’s insurance company not your employer. In fact employers are usually quite upset when an employee is injured in the workplace. USA law also states that there should be no consequences for an employee who rightfully makes a compensation claim for a work related injury against an employer.

Evidence that could be used to support a compensation claim include photographs of the items you were asked to lift, along with accurate measurements of their weight and height, CCTV footage of the incident if it is available and it may also be worthwhile gathering contact details of witnesses who may have seen the incident. You need to prove that your employer failed to provide you with a duty of care, they are obliged to give staff adequate safety equipment as well as a safe working environment, and you should also have received training about heavy lifting. You may be entitled to compensation if your employer failed to provide any one of the above.

It is also advised that you make an entry in the employer’s ‘Accident Report Book’ about the incident although you are not obliged to mention who you believe is to blame for your injury. You should speak with a personal injury lawyer as you may receive a direct offer of compensation from your employer’s insurance company. It is imperative that any such offer is referred to a lawyer as you risk being undercompensated for your injury if you accept an offer from the third party without consulting them. Your lawyer will ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are eligible to claim for a manual handling injury at work.