Fatal Accident at Work Claims Explained

30 April 2019

Workplace accidents can have devastating, life-changing and even fatal consequences. If an employee dies as a result of an accident at work, their loved ones may be entitled to make a Fatal Accident Claim for compensation.

We explain how Fatal Accident Claims work, and how to make a Fatal Accident Claim if your loved one has died in an accident at work.

Fatal Accidents at Work – Employer Responsibilities

On average, 141 workers per year are killed while at work in Great Britain (according to statistics from HSE). Statistically, the most dangerous industries to work in are construction, agriculture and waste and recycling. The manufacturing, mining and logistics industries also have above average fatality rates.

Employers have a legal obligation to protect the health and safety of their employees. These obligations are set out in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. However, construction sites, ships and mines must comply with specific regulations as these work environments pose unique risks to workers.

In addition, employers must also carry out regular risk assessments, identifying any hazards which could compromise a workers' safety. They must then act on these assessments, taking reasonable measures to address and minimise these risks.

Workplace Accidents - Finding the Answers

Losing a loved one in a workplace accident is an unexpected, shocking and traumatic event. Many families in this situation will want answers as to what has happened and why.

During the Fatal Accident Claim, your Personal Injury Solicitor will set out to find these answers, establishing details such as how and why the accident occurred, and identifying those responsible.

Many fatal work accidents occur as a result of employers not complying with health and safety law or not carrying out adequate risk assessments before instructing workers to carry out potentially dangerous tasks. If the employer failed to put in place the necessary measures to protect the workers' safety, or if they had instructed the workers to carry out dangerous tasks or follow unsafe procedures, which leads to personal injury or death; then they could be held liable.

Evidence such as the workplace accident book and witness statements will help to establish the cause of the accident and determine whether or not it could reasonably have been avoided.

Fatal Accident Claim for an Accident at Work

If it is found that the accident occurred as a result of someone else's fault or negligence, then the family of the person who has died may be entitled to claim compensation.

It is a legal requirement in England and Wales for all employers to have Employers Liability Insurance, which will cover any compensation payments that need to be made. This law exists to ensure that workers and their loved ones will be able to recover compensation owed to them following an accident.

While no amount of compensation will undo what has been done, a Fatal Accident Claim can help to ease the financial burden on the family during this time of grief. Funeral costs, costs of an inquest, Probate administration, the loss of dependant income and the loss of services like childcare and DIY, can quickly become overwhelming for a family after they have suffered an unexpected loss.

A Fatal Accident Claim can also be instrumental in ensuring that measures are taken to prevent the same mistakes from being made again. By highlighting where there have been shortcomings, the correct safeguards can be implemented so that other workers are adequately protected in the future.

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