Changes to the law relating to injuries at work
September 4, 2013
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has made changes to the law which will make it more difficult to run claims against an employer if you have had an accident or developed a medical condition at work. From 1st October 2013, workers can no longer bring civil claims for damages relying solely on a breach of health and safety regulations.
The regulations remain in force so employers still have to comply to avoid criminal prosecution and, in reality, the Courts are still likely to decide that an employer was negligent if he failed to comply with the regulations, so in most claims, the injured worker will be able to prove liability.
Some claims will certainly be more difficult than before. For example, if you are injured because a piece of machinery or equipment failed, you will have to prove that it was defective because your employer was careless. Before 1st October, all you had to prove was that the accident was caused by the defect and it didn't matter that your employer couldn't have known it was defective. Now if your employer can show he had regularly maintained the equipment then the question is how could he have known it would fail when it did?
In some cases, it will now be necessary to get expert evidence – usually from a consulting engineer – to prove that the defect was one which your employer should have known about or that the defect was due to poor maintenance.
Proving fault won't be as easy as it used to be without the support of the regulations which applied to your work so it's really important to choose a solicitor with a sound knowledge of the law and long experience of proving fault for work accidents.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.