Employers’ Liability Claims

Laws relating to Employers’ Liability Claims

If you have suffered a slip, trip or fall in your workplace, it would be wise to investigate the law behind employers’ liability claims. Governed by the rules concerning negligence, a number of regulations and statutes mean that it has become much easier to sue one’s employers over the last few decades.

Duties Of Care

In order to establish a successful claim under the law of negligence, a number of elements need to be present. Firstly, your employer must owe you a duty of care. A whole range of these duties have been established through the common law and by Parliament, and it is likely that the cause of your accident will fall under one of the general duties. These include a duty upon the employer to ensure that your colleagues are competent, that you work in a safe place, that you are provided with safe equipment, and that you are given a safe system of working. This last duty can also be applied to stressful situations, and it is possible to claim for mental health difficulties as well as physical accidents. It is also worth noting that under the Employers’ Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969, your employer is liable even if the equipment provided is dangerous due to no fault of their own.

Breaches Of Duty

Even if your employer owes you a duty of care, it must have been breached in order for you to be able to claim. The standard which is used by the courts to judge whether a breach has occurred is that of the generic ‘reasonable person’, and the breach must also have caused the injury you suffered. If you can prove that all of these elements exist, then you are likely to be successful in gaining compensation via employers’ liability claims. How much you are awarded will depend on the level of injury you have suffered, and on whether it has contributed to a loss of earnings or other out of pocket expenses. You will also need to prove that you did not contribute to the injury yourself. If you did, then your damages may be reduced through a finding of contributory negligence by the court. As all employers are required by law to take out liability insurance, however, you need not worry about receiving your damages, even if you work for a small company.

Statutory Duties

Whilst negligence is the most common route for claiming for an injury suffered in the workplace, it is also possible to pursue a claim for breach of statutory duty. Over the last few decades, Parliament has created a significant number of regulations which govern how employers are meant to provide for the safety of their employees. The most important piece of legislation in this field is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and its associated regulations. Due to the complexity of this area of law, however, it would be wise to engage professional legal help before attempting to make a claim of this type.

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