Injured workers face new compensation hurdle

31st January 2014

Injured workers face new compensation hurdle

The coming into force of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 on 1 October 2013 makes it more difficult for an injured employee to succeed with a personal injury compensation claim following an accident at work according to Howard Bush of Gotelee Solicitors.

Health & Safety law in the workplace is based on a vast number of regulations which primarily emanate from Europe and which are designed to provide protection to employees in the workplace.

Before the Introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 where an employee had been injured because their employer had breached a particular Regulation, the injured person had a right to rely on the breach of that Regulation to claim compensation. Since the Introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 an employee cannot now rely on a specific breach of the Regulations to claim compensation.

These changes have reduced and arguably diluted the force of the current Health & Safety Regulations which are in place to protect employees and others from being injured in the workplace.

However the change in legislation does not apply if you are employed in the public sector where you can still rely on a breach of a Health & Safety Regulation if you are injured at work to base a claim for compensation.

As a result we now have a position where employees in the public sector who are injured at work have greater protection than employees who work in the private sector.

There is another unintended consequence of these changes in the situation where an injured employee requires hospital treatment and/or claims state benefits as a result of their injury. Prior to the new legislation, in a successful claim, such costs and expenses would be recovered from the employer or its insurers and repaid to the Government whereas now because succeeding in a personal injury claim is likely to be more difficult the burden of paying those costs will fall on the tax payer.

If you have been involved in an accident at work it is important that you immediately seek legal advice in relation to any potential claim you may have against your employer. Depending upon when the accident occurred this new legislation may not apply and there may be other ways to avoid the consequences of the Act.

If you, or someone you know needs legal assistance in respect of any related issues please contact Howard Bush on 0800 091 4251 or complete our online enquiry form.

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