Monday, 22 October 2012

Rise above your fall: What to do if you have an accident at your place of work

Having an accident at work claim can be stressful for many reasons. You likely depend on your job as a steady source of income, and you can’t work if you’re injured. However, there are precautions you can take to prevent accidents, as well as information that will help you in the case of a serious accident. Are you wondering how you can rise above your accident woes? Just keep reading.

Before an accident happens

There are certain steps you can take as an employee to ensure your own safety at work, regardless of what industry you work in. First, if your company has a safety policy, it is a good idea to make sure that you know it well. If you have any questions or additional safety concerns, don’t hesitate to bring it up to your employer. There  could safety hazards that you encounter in the process of doing your job that he or she hasn’t considered.

You should also keep in mind the nature of your work when you consider how to prevent accidents. A construction worker and an office assistant, for example, face different dangers over the course of a normal work day, but a little foresight and caution can help each stay safe.

What you should expect from your employer

By law, your employer is required to have insurance that would cover any kind of accident claim brought against the company by current or former employees. Employers are also required to document any accidents that happen on the job. If you are involved in an accident, even if it is a small, seemingly insignificant incident, you should take care to make sure that your employer records it. This record can work in your favour in the instance that you experience symptoms that stem from an earlier accident because it can play a part in filing a claim for compensation.

Taking legal action

No matter who your employer is, you are guaranteed statutory sick pay if you meet the minimum requirements. Some employers also offer additional sick pay, though it isn’t legally obligated. And, if you suffer medical injuries from an accident that your employer is liable for, you can also seek compensation from the company. In order to do this, you will need to seek independent legal counsel.

Ultimately, the best way to sort out any possible accident claims is to work with your employer to stop an accident before it happens. And if you find yourself in need of legal counsel to file an accident claim, you should try to work with your employer afterwards to make a plan so that it never happens again.

Guest blog post on behalf of Irwin Mitchell

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Can I chose my own lawyer under legal expense insurance?

As most of you know one of the staple ways which many employment cases are funded are via home contents insurance policies. Under most of these there is a clause which allows you to be funded right from the start to the end of your employment case, subject to a financial limit and subject to an employment lawyer assessing your claim (usually at over 55%).

There are certain elephant traps along the way:

Firstly look out for who assesses your merits, what are their credentials?

Secondly, don't be fobbed off easily if you disagree get another opinion from a Barrister

Thirdly, some policies suggest that you cannot chose your own lawyer. This is plainly wrong if the Financial Ombudsman is to be believed.

You can chose your own employment lawyer in 3 sets of circumstance:

1) It says so under your policy

2) Their is a conflict of interest

3) If you have started proceedings i.e if you chosen lawyer has submitted your ET1.

Please see :

The Ombudsman's site 

and on that site :

'(regulation 6 of the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 [SI 1159]) allows policyholders to choose their own solicitors.'

'These regulations are wide enough to include legal proceedings pursued and defended in tribunals – for example, employment tribunals – as well as proceedings in courts. '

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Removing provisions from the Equality Act will not help employers, says Law Society

 A thought provoking defence of the Equality Act  from the Law Society:

 The Law Society has warned that removing certain provisions from the Equality Act will not help employers. The warning comes after the government published a series of amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill this week.

The amendments, to be considered in the report stage of the Bill, abolish the Equality Act provisions on third party harassment (which make an employer liable for failing to act where their employee has been harassed by a third party) and the use of claimant questionnaires in discrimination claims.

The Law Society has highlighted the fact that these provisions can in fact be beneficial to employers as well as employees.

Under section 40 of the Equality Act an employer is not held responsible for the third party's actions in themselves, but for failing to act where they have been told of the harassment; when it has happened on at least two previous occasions; and where the employer has not taken such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the harassment.

 "Harassment is unacceptable in any workplace," says Chair of the Law Society Employment Law Committee Angharad Harris. "The benefit of the third party harassment provision was that it has encouraged best practice amongst employers and this in turn helps to reduce potential incidents of harassment at work."

"The questionnaire procedure can also help employers because it encourages an employee to ask all of their questions at once, rather than through a series of informal questions which make it harder for an employer than if they had been raised all at once.

 "Questionnaires also discourage those cases that have no merit."

  The Law Society says that business concerns could have been addressed through better guidance on how to deal with third party harassment and how to answer questionnaires.

Angharad Harris added: "Most employers want to do the right thing, and want clear advice to understand how employment law affects them."

 When in doubt, the Law Society advises employers to get in touch with their local solicitor.