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How to Make an Employers' Liability Claim

If you've been injured or fall ill due to unsafe working methods or equipment at work, you may be able to make an employer’s liability claim to receive compensation. Here's some information on how the process works and what you'll need to do and provide to support your claim.

Can I Claim on Employers' Liability?

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, and are responsible for providing a safe working environment. This means an employer must provide sufficient equipment, a safe system of work and adequate training. If they do not implement the correct health and safety procedures at work and an employee is injured or falls ill as a result, a claim can be made against the company. These types of claims fall under Employers' Liability insurance.

Examples of employers' liability claims

  • A builder suffers a serious spinal injury after falling from height when scaffolding collapses
  • A data researcher suffers from repetitive strain injuries to their wrists due to excessive use of the computer at work
  • A stockist trips over boxes in a warehouse and injures his arm

If you have been injured at work—and the injury could have been avoided had the right health and safety measures been in place—then you may be in a position to make an employers' liability claim. Businesses are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment (read more about this at HSE), and if they don't then any employees injured or falling ill due to their work can sue the company for damages.

Most common workplace injuries

What kinds of injuries are most frequent in employers' liability claims? Let's take a look at the most common types of workplace injuries in the UK. As you can see below, carrying injuries when handling or lifting are the most common, followed by slipping or tripping injuries. In fact, these two categories of injuries out for nearly 2 in 5 workplace incidents. However, while more rare, there are other types of injuries that can be far more serious such as falls from height or being hit by moving objects or machinery.

8 Most Common Kinds of Non-Fatal Workplace InjuriesLabour Force Survey (LFS)RIDDORAverage Percentage
1Injured while handling, lifting or carrying118,00013,94020%
2Slipped, tripped or fell on the same level104,00020,02219%
3Hit by moving, flying, falling object48,0007,0898%
4Physically assaulted by a person46,0005,4228%
5Contact with moving machinery44,0002,6157%
6Fell from a height39,0005,2967%
7Hit something fixed or stationary23,0002,4514%
8Injured by an animal12,0006482%
Other kinds of accident138,0008,55723%
All accident kinds582,00069,208100%
Chart showing the 10 most common workplace injuries
Most common causes of workplace injuries

Can I claim on Employers' Liability if I'm a contractor or self employed?

It depends. This is a nuanced area of the law so you may need professional legal advice. But generally speaking, you may be able to claim if another company was responsible for the work environment and upholding safe working practices. For example, a development company on a construction project could be responsible for the health and safety of employees, contractors and visitors while on site.

How do I make a successful claim?

To make a claim you'll need proof that your employer breached their duty of care or that they were negligent. Did your employer fail to maintain a working environment adhering to the minimum health and safety standards? For example, was adequate training provided to you? Did your employer carry out an adequate risk assessment? Here are some steps that you'll need to follow in event of a workplace accident:

  • Report an accident to the appropriate manager
  • Complete an accident report with full details about what happened
  • Obtain contact details of any witnesses, and potentially a witness statement
  • Where useful (e.g., to show defective equipment), take photographs of the accident location
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • Provide a medical report (this helps prove ‘medical causation’ that your injury or illness was caused by your employer’s negligence or fault—typically a specialist medical expert will be called upon to write a medical report on the injuries and make any treatment recommendations)

An expert legal representative will help navigate this process to ensure the best odds of a successful claim.

Steps and Forms

Stage 1 of initiating an employers' liability claim is called notification, and it begins with filling out a claim notification form (CNF). This is sent to the defendant's insurer and a Defendant Only Claim Notification Form ('Defendant Only CNF') is sent to the defendant. If you're wondering what type of information you and your legal representative will need to fill out the notification form, have a look at the forms for low value personal injury claims below.

  • EL1 Form—for low value personal injury claims in employers' liability - injury (£1,000 - £25,000).
  • ELD1 Form—for low value personal injury claims in employers' liability - disease/illness (£1,000 - £25,000).

When a defendant's insurer is not known, it can be searched for via the The Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO). The ELTO was founded in 2011 by the insurance industry to give claimants easy access to their employer’s liability insurance data. It's free to use and can be searched by individuals, solicitors and employers.

Employers who are made aware of a claim (or a potential claim), should:

  • 1) Check their policy to make sure they're covered.
  • 2) Follow the instructions provided in the claims notification conditions.

What's not covered

Employers' liability insurance covers a business's legal defense costs and any damages that are required to be paid to the injured employee. But there are some exceptions to cover:

  • Excess (the first amount of a claim for which you are responsible)
  • Work in hazardous locations
  • Radioactive contamination
  • Liability for bodily injury to an employed person in a road traffic accident where the claim would be covered under the vehicle insurance

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.