What Should Your Employer Do If You Sustain a Head Injury at Work?
If you sustain a head injury in an accident at work, your employer should have procedures in place to deal with the situation. All key staff members should be aware of the company’s accident at work policy, which must be implemented when any accident takes place, regardless of its severity.
A serious accident at work should then be reported to the Health and Safety Executive or the health and safety department at the company’s Local Authority. A serious accident can include:
- Major injuries, such as a serious crush injury/broken bones, amputation, spinal cord injury or a brain injury
- A dangerous incident, such as collapsed scaffolding
- Any injury that means an employee can’t do their normal job for 3 days or more
It’s the employer’s responsibility to report an accident at work to the relevant authorities, but you can be involved to make sure the correct procedures have been followed. A head injury at work should also be recorded in the employer’s accident book. This may serve as an important record in the event of an injured employee needing time off work, or making a personal injury claim at a later date.
Workplace Head Injury Response under Scrutiny
The issue of how employers respond to head injuries in the workplace has been put under the spotlight recently following several incidents in which sportsmen have been injured, but carried on playing. For instance, Tottenham Hotspurs defender Jan Vertonghen stayed on the pitch in a Champions League semi-final despite having a suspected head injury.
The player himself insisted to the referee that he was fit to play, while the club stated later that he’d passed all the relevant concussion tests and was okay to continue. However, brain injury charity Headway warned that assessing a player for 3 to 5 minutes doesn’t allow medical staff to make a reliable diagnosis.
Headway spokesman Luke Griggs said, "Concussion is notoriously difficult to diagnose. The symptoms may be hidden and require the individual to be honest about how they're feeling, while they can also be delayed in their presentation.
"Not every head injury will result in a concussion. But allowing players to continue while showing clear signs of discomfort following a head injury is contrary to the 'if in doubt, sit it out' principle at the heart of all effective concussion protocols."
Head injuries in the workplace can also, in many cases, be the result of slips, trips, falls from height, heavy objects falling from height or car accidents. In many cases, using protective equipment can prevent harmful injuries resulting from an accident at work. But even when protective equipment such as hard hats are provided, an employer may still be held liable if the member of staff was left seriously hurt.
Claiming Compensation for a Head Injury at Work
If you believe your employer failed in their duty to keep you safe and you sustained a head injury as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Employers in England and Wales are legally required to have at least £5 million of employer’s liability insurance in place to cover workplace accidents, so their insurance provider is likely the be the party that pays out compensation; not the employer.
However, there are strict time limits in place in which to pursue a head injury claim. In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your injury to make a claim, so we’d advise you to contact us as soon as possible.
Our Personal Injury Solicitors aim to take the pressure off you and your family and deal with your head injury claim quickly and efficiently. This is a complex area of law that demands specialist expertise, but we make a point of speaking to clients in plain English rather than legal jargon, so you always know what’s going on at every stage of your claim.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.