Most people who fall ill or are injured at work never receive a penny in compensation, reveals a myth-busting report.
“Contrary to perceptions, not every injury results in compensation,” said Matthew Stockwell, president of the not-for-profit victims’ campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) which has produced a joint report with the TUC called The Compensation Myth, to debunk popular misconceptions.
Julie Harris, head of Allan McDougall Solicitors’ Personal Injury team, commented: “Employers are legally obliged to have employers liability insurance cover for workplace accidents. Anyone injured at work through the fault, or partial fault, of their employer should seek advice about making a claim. In doing so, they may well encourage their employer to make the place safer in the future and thereby avoid another similar accident.”
“Eighty-five per cent of people who have been injured or fallen ill simply by turning up for work don’t receive a penny in compensation,” Matthew Stockwell explained. “Either these injured people are choosing not to claim, or they can’t prove that their injury is due to someone else’s negligence. Unfortunately, employers tend to have the upper hand, as they control the workplace and have all the information on the equipment and systems in place. So there will be people who have a need and a right to claim but can’t, which is precisely the opposite of a so-called ‘have-a-go’ culture”.
He went on: “There is a general lack of understanding about the way the personal injury system works. Compensation claims can only be made where negligence has been proven, not every mishap has a price tag attached”.
More than 600,000 people are reported to become ill or are injured because of their job each year, and 25,000 of those are forced to give up work. The most common workplace injuries are musculoskeletal disorders such as ligament and back injuries, skin diseases, hearing problems and injuries from slips and falls.
“Compensation serves an important purpose,” said Matthew. “Myths and misunderstandings create a smokescreen which obscures the fact that injured people need, and are entitled to, help to get back to work and put their lives back on track.”