An accident or injury should always be treated with the utmost concern especially in the workplace. Some injuries may be random and hard to foresee; however, others may be intentionally caused by a colleague. An injury has the potential to damage various aspects of your life or leave you with long-lasting effects.
If an action or inaction by a work colleague causes you an injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Common Workplace Injuries
Some of the most common workplace injuries that are perpetuated by a colleague include:
- Physical violence; one colleague may decide to attack another due to a given reason thereby causing them physical harm.
- Harassment; this may occur in the form of verbal insults or sexually inappropriate behaviour from a colleague.
- Discrimination; if other employees are wrongfully given preferential treatment over another it is tantamount to discrimination. This ranges from giving a colleague more workload when compared to other employees or denying them work benefits that are given to their colleagues.
- Exposure to hazard; in this case, a colleague may neglect their duties and lead to another being injured.
The harmful effects of these injuries can be physical, emotional or result in financial losses.
The Employer’s Responsibility
First, every employer is tasked with the responsibility of providing a safe working environment to all employees, clients and visiting persons at all times. This clause includes:
- Ensuring that all employees are adequately trained for their jobs.
- Repairing or replacing all faulty equipment.
- Placing conspicuous warning signs at potentially risky places.
- Implementing health and safety regulations.
- Creating a communication channel that enables addressing of accident and injury reports conclusively.
Secondly, an employer should have Employers Liability Insurance. This type of insurance cover is used to settle successful claims by an injured employee.
An employer is entirely responsible for the behaviour of their employees at work. They are also liable when an employee is outside the workplace but acting in his capacity as an employee. In cases where an employee hurts their colleague outside the workplace for a reason originating from their work interactions, the employer remains liable. An employer should always ensure that all misdeeds of an employee are scrutinized, and the appropriate disciplinary action taken. Often, it’s the employer who is held liable for injuries sustained by an employee at work.
But, if the employee who caused the accident has been warned before after a similar behaviour and did not take any initiative to make a rectification, then they themselves will be responsible for the injury.
What should you do when involved in an accident caused by a work colleague?
If a colleague at work causes you any form of injury or accident, act immediately. The sooner you make your claim, the stronger your case will be. You will be able to recall the incident more accurately, and any physical evidence is more likely to exist. Below are a number of steps that you should take after an accident or injury in order to make your claim successful:
- Seek medical help if you have been harmed physically.
- Notify your employer about the incident as soon as possible.
- Write the incident down as a report or letter, you should take necessary photographs if possible. If there were any witnesses during the incident, ask for their contact information and support in testifying if required.
- Seek legal help. This step is very crucial if you don’t reach an out of court agreement with the employer. A solicitor will help you gather important facts and evidence about the incident in order to build a stronger case. A lot of solicitors will actually work on a no win no fee basis.
What can you claim after an accident caused by a work colleague?
If you sustain any form of injury caused or factored by a colleague at work, there are several types of compensation that you can claim. They include:
- General damages- This claim is based on the pain and suffering resulting from the incident. This damage is difficult to quantify financially since it relates to emotional and physical distress that interferes with your wellbeing.
- Special damages- This claim is monetary based and much easier to quantify. It can range from
- Loss of income, either presently due to missing work or expected loss of future income following the accident.
- Travel expenses you incurred while seeking medical help.
- Patient care expenses that arose after paying for a personalized home care service.
- Medical expenses that you have already incurred or that are expected in the future following the accident or injury.
- Damage to personal property during the incident.
It is quite unfortunate when an accident happens to you. The effects of which can be unbearable and very devastating. Most people fail to report accidents and injuries caused by a work colleague for fear of destroying work relations. But you have a right to file a claim and to be compensated for the injuries that you sustained. to enable you to receive justice for the injuries you sustained.