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To sue my current employer?

(56 Posts)
AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:00:14

Regular, name changed, naice ham, but woo etc. A few weeks ago I tripped over a wire that shouldn't have been there in the office I work in, which is local government. I've worked there for nearly ten years and a number of people have had near misses with exactly the same thing. Unfortunately for me I broke my arm. Had an op a few days later to insert a plate which will be there for life. Obviously life is very difficult, having a 4 year old, also my house is upside down due to works. The cast is off now and I'm in a splint for at least another month. I've gone back to work and I was fully paid whilst off. There have been a few expenses, hospital travel, waterproof cover for cast etc. Not loads of money but I can do without it at any time, especially near Christmas. Anyway...... It never occurred to me until lots of colleagues and friends and then my Union advised me to go for compensation. Obviously the employer was at fault, the wire shouldn't have been there and there have been many (unreported) near misses. There was no warning signage up or similar.

Financially I'm not massively out of pocket, only for the sundries listed. It's making my life very difficult and putting massive pressure on my already overworked DP because there's a lot I can't do.

I'm slightly concerned that I'm going to mega piss my employer off. There's quite a lot of dispute between the workforce and management at the moment due to various reasons which will likely out me if I go into them, and it's the sort of job that I will be in until I retire/get sacked/die blahblahblah. I know in theory they can't discriminate against me but they might.

I have solicitors services free with Union, all I need to do is pick up the phone.

What would you do? Have you done this?

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 15-Dec-14 14:03:10

I think it is tricky as you still have to work there.

However a cliam will force them to take H&S more serious and make the work place safer.

Mmolly2013 Mon 15-Dec-14 14:06:06

Definitely put a claim in, you don't know how your arm is going to affect your life in many years to come. You've nothing to lose as they can't fire you from your job. They are in the wrong

AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:09:56

They are usually MENTAL about H&S to the point of it being ridiculous with most things.

I have a Colles/Distal Radius Fracture. Is potential compensation worth my while? Will it be something that just drags out?

raltheraffe Mon 15-Dec-14 14:10:22

Absolutely sue them.

lunar1 Mon 15-Dec-14 14:12:17

Was the wire hidden or difficult to see?

ilovesooty Mon 15-Dec-14 14:14:15

Why were the near misses unreported?

AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:17:07

They were unreported because people generally have so much to do its just more paperwork. Wrong, but I am responsible for that as much as anyone else shock.

The wire wasn't particularly obvious no. Black wire on navy carpet.

anothernumberone Mon 15-Dec-14 14:17:39

You see this is precisely what health and safety legislation and insurance is for. Health and safety to minimise risks and insurance to pay out when something goes wrong.

I would definitely claim in this circumstance not to be adversarial but to not be out of pocket. Be warned though if this was an ongoing issue and it was not brought to the attention of management that does affect their culpability as health and safety is everyone's responsibility. I also would not give a crap what my managers thought because if they don't understand the above ie the point if health and safety legislation and insurance then they are in the wrong job.

Patilla Mon 15-Dec-14 14:18:16

If the wire was in plain sight then I can't see how any claim can't be fought off with an argument that you should have taken due care.

Furthermore if they take particular care with H&S and this was the inadvertent action of one employee then it may be that as an employer that they have fulfilled their obligations. They can't control every action of their employees or they would have told you to take care around the cable.

I would think very carefully before taking action and take independent and confidential advice before broadcasting my plans. You may find even in the unusual situation that you were successful that you get very little for a broken arm.

Hissy Mon 15-Dec-14 14:20:48

go to the CAB, or contact your union for advice

Patilla Mon 15-Dec-14 14:20:53

Additionally if the near misses were unreported then they may not even have known, whereas you did know. As individuals we still have an obligation to take care and pay attention.

AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:21:32

What is "very little" though?

AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:22:15

I have spoken to my Union. They suggested it before I had a chance to bring it up!

paddlenorapaddle Mon 15-Dec-14 14:24:31

you may be covered by workplace insurance its worth finding that out first before you let the union loose with your case

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 15-Dec-14 14:26:54

I would see a solicitor and get some proper advice, but I'd be very tempted to sue. I know two people who have been injured in workplace accidents - one a lecturer at university and another a colleague who slipped on a wet floor that wasn't signposted as such. Both had lasting injuries/effects and both won their cases. My lecturer ended up only being able to drive an automatic, had to buy a new car etc.

AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:28:27

Thank you for all your replies on this so far.

Has anybody had this injury? What was recovery like?

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Mon 15-Dec-14 14:31:06

The sort of fracture you have isn't insignificant & will warrant a fairly decent award. The exact figure won't be determined until the medical evidence has been collated & the prognosis established. The long term aspect of the injury/effect will likely increase the amount awarded. I'd say go ahead, the 1st step will be your SIL requesting a copy of the accident report & that'll tell them if there are grounds to sue or if there is any reason why the claim might be partially or fully defended, and whether you will be considered in any way liable for your own injury too.

If you ever lose your job & your injury hampers your job prospects that's something you need to think about as well.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 15-Dec-14 14:31:06

www.bottonline.co.uk/guides/how-much-can-i-claim-for-personal-injury-compensation

Lunastarfish Mon 15-Dec-14 14:33:26

As a local government they'll be use to employees song for PI. Bear in mind though that if you were paid your compensation will be relatively low, just a sum for injury and sundries. The big claims in the press nearly always are due to loss of earnings and pension

TalesOfTheCity Mon 15-Dec-14 14:33:59

Have you just asked them whether they will cover your expenses? Sorry if you have and I've missed that.

TheWiseOldElf Mon 15-Dec-14 14:34:39

Definitely bring a claim but be prepared for it to be defended and for the effect that that could have on your work and on your sanity for the 2-3 years that it could take to resolve.

Insurance companies generally fight workplace claims and the insurer will usually have the right to take the decision to defend even if your employer isn't too bothered. Your risks are that previous near-misses were unreported (meaning that your employer wasn't necessarily on notice that there was a problem but that you were) and that they were generally good on H&S (meaning they will probably have risk assessments and procedures etc). Bringing a claim can be extremely stressful and time consuming and you may find that co-workers get wind of it and treat you different.

Having said this, even a simple fracture to the arm could be worth damages of £5-8K with additional damages for all your out of pocket expenses. You're very likely to be funded by your union or on a no-win-no-fee agreement so you won't be out of pocket.

Lunastarfish Mon 15-Dec-14 14:35:07

Also your union will provide a solicitor so use it

AchyBreakyArm Mon 15-Dec-14 14:36:44

Thank you everyone. I will think about this a bit more and look into the suggested links.

LittleDonkeyLeftie Mon 15-Dec-14 15:03:15

Definitely do it through your union as then you will not pay any fees and will get all the compo.

It cannot affect your work situation at all as they will be insured. Your manager probably won't even get to hear about it - I assume the incident was registered at the time.

Put you claim in and don't fret.

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