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Back injury at work claims

You may be able to claim compensation for a back injury at work if the injury was caused by the negligence of your employer. Speak to our experienced accident at work solicitors to find out if you can claim compensation.

Last updated on November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when claiming for a back injury at work:

  • Under UK Health and Safety and Manual Handling laws, it is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe.
  • You can claim if you can prove that inadequate training or the lack of workplace safety contributed to your injury.
  • You can claim compensation for a back injury at work if your injuries were a result of the negligence of your employer.
  • You have three years from the date of your back injury or your diagnosis to make a claim.
  • The amount of compensation you may be able to claim depends on the severity of the injury, loss of earnings and changes to your lifestyle.

What is a back injury at work claim?

A back injury at work claim can be brought against an employer if someone has injured their back in the workplace and was caused by the negligence of their employer.

When can I claim compensation for a back injury at work?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, it is your employer’s responsibility to make sure staff are appropriately trained and that your workplace is safe. You may be able to make a claim if you can prove that your employer failed in their duty of care and this negligence contributed to your injuries.

In some cases, you may even be able to claim for back or spinal injuries if you were partly at fault. For example, if you had an injury caused by your incorrect use of equipment, but your employer failed to provide adequate training for the equipment, you could make a ‘contributory negligence’ claim.

This means that you would be awarded compensation based on how much your employer was at fault – for example, if you were half at fault, you would get half the total compensation amount.

You have the same rights to make a claim if you are a full-time or part time employee, a contractor or on a zero hours contract.

Speak to our specialist accident at work solicitors today to find out how much your claim may be worth.

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What is the Law on compensation for a back injury at work?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, your employer has a duty of care to keep you safe. In terms of back and spinal injuries, this means providing you with all relevant training, whether for machinery, equipment or manual labour.

Physical roles are also covered by the 1992 Manual Handling Operations Regulation, which means your employer has to provide adequate training. The same applies for hazardous jobs at a height, which is covered by the Work at Height Regulations 2005 Act.

If you are sure that your company has not met these standards, you could make a claim. Our no win no fee solicitors would claim compensation on your behalf, which would be paid by Employer’s Liability Insurance.

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How do I prove I’ve had a back injury at work?

Our solicitors will ask you for evidence to prove that your injury occurred at work and resulted from your employer’s negligence. Such evidence could include;

  • A copy of the accident report as filed in the company accident book.
  • All medical records if you visited your GP, hospital or have received any physiotherapy for your injuries.
  • A copy of all witness reports or contact information for any witnesses of the accident that caused your injury.
  • Photographic evidence of any visible symptoms you may have. In some cases, symptoms may not show up straight away, particularly back and spinal injuries, which can ‘flare up’ later. Our expert teams will be able to talk you through this if your pain comes and goes.
  • Some employers will offer their medical assessment, but it’s always best to go to your GP. We can recommend you local medical professionals to see for an accurate evaluation.
  • You should keep a record of all loss of earnings. Include any relevant receipts, for example, records of travel to appointments.
  • Finally, try to gather evidence of failures on your employer’s part. For example, you might have records of manual handling training that have not been updated or evidence of faulty machinery.

Our expert accidents at work solicitors will be able to help you in this process.

We understand the financial impact of an accident.

In 99% of cases, we recovered more compensation than the insurer’s first offer. We’ll provide financial security with our interim payments wherever possible, meaning you don’t need to rush into an offer that is lower than you’re legally entitled to.

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How long do I have to claim for a back injury at work?

The time limit to make a claim for a back injury at work is three years from the date of the accident, or three years from the date your injuries were diagnosed by a medical professional.

There are some exceptions to this rule. You may have longer than three years to claim if:

  • The injury caused you to be mentally incapacitated (e.g. brain damage) and you were not physically fit to claim within three years
  • Your injury happened overseas
  • You were under 18 at the time – you can claim up to the date of your 21st birthday
  • Workplace equipment was found to be faulty e.g. with a product recall – in these cases, you can claim three years after the equipment was found to be at fault.

How much compensation can I claim for a back injury at work?

Compensation amounts for back injuries will depend on the severity of your injuries and the effect they have had on your life. According to the Judicial College Guidelines, settlement amounts for minor back injuries can start at £2,000 going up to £151,000 for severe back injuries such as spinal cord damage, and when surgery may be required.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to compensation amounts. Our trained employer liability solicitors take into consideration many factors such as severity of the injury, time off work, loss of earnings and changes to your lifestyle when considering how much you may be able to claim. At Express Solicitors, we always go above and beyond to ensure you get as much compensation as possible.

Back injury at work compensation calculator

Our back injury calculator can provide a guide to the amounts of compensation you may be able to claim for your back injury. The calculator takes into account the severity of your injuries and provides an approximate compensation amounts based on recent case law and the Judicial College Guidelines.

These amounts only take into account the amount of compensation you could claim for your injuries, known as General Damages. It does not take into account what you may be able to claim for Special Damages; the amount of compensation you can claim for your out of pocket expenses, and how your injuries may have affected your life.

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Compensation amounts are estimated based on the level of injury below

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How is compensation for back injuries at work calculated?

The total amount of compensation will be calculated by combining the amount of General Damages and Special Damages you may be entitled to claim for.

General damages will be calculated using the Judicial Board Guidelines as a reference but will depend on how serious your back injury is and the level of negligence of your employer.

Special damages will be calculated by considering the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred because of the injury and any expenses you may need in the future.

When you speak to our expert workplace accident solicitors, we’ll ask you for as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This helps us to secure as much compensation as possible, which we calculate based on:

  • How serious your injury is
  • Any financial losses e.g. from time off work or treatments
  • Travel costs to treatments
  • Psychological trauma
  • Adjustments to your home
  • Inability to go about your daily hobbies
  • Having to change jobs.

In some cases, we can also help you with interim payments. This means that we give you a little of your final payout while you’re waiting for your compensation, to cover any financial losses.

Why should you choose us?

100% No-Win-No-Fee

Contact us with the comfort of knowing you’ll never be at financial risk when you claim with us. We cover all legal costs, never charge upfront fees, and we only get paid if you do.

Advanced payments available

We understand how an accident can affect your financial position. We always look to collect an early compensation (interim) payment where possible.

We can take over your case

With legal specialists for every type of accident claim, we can take over your claim at any stage from another solicitors. We take pride in winning cases other firms turn down.

How to start a back injury at work compensation claim

The best place to start is to get in touch with our expert work accident solicitors to find out if you have a legal right to claim compensation. In this initial consultation, our friendly team will ask for details of your injury, and may ask you to provide evidence. We may need witness statements from other people, so if anybody saw the accident, please let us know.

With the right evidence in place, our expert solicitors will start your claim. We will negotiate with your employer and make a claim against their Employer’s Liability Insurance, claiming your employee rights, and their failure to keep you safe.

If your case is successful, you’ll receive your compensation, minus our legal fees. In some cases, your employer’s insurance will cover these fees. In some cases, we can provide an interim payment.

Unlimited legal support.

That’s right, we provide unlimited legal support for our prospective clients. Not sure if you have a claim, or if you even want to make a claim? You can speak with us for as long as you like and as many times as you like. We’ll let you know your legal rights, completely free of charge and with no obligation to make a claim.


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How much pain do I need to be in to make a back injury at work claim?

When you make a back injury at work claim with us, we’ll assess how severe the damage is. You can still claim compensation even if the pain is mild. We need to consider the links between the long-term pain and the injury itself.

Every back injury compensation claim is different, so even if you’re only in mild discomfort, you could still have a claim. You should also seek treatment to avoid long-term injury.

How do I choose the right solicitor for a back injury at work claim?

You need a solicitor who will listen to your case when nobody else will. At Express Solicitors, we’ve managed to claim £160 million in personal injury compensation for our clients. Even if you’ve been refused elsewhere, we’ll listen to your story and approach your case sensitively.

Claiming can be a lengthy process, but this is because we go the extra mile to get every single penny you deserve. The best part is that many cases are No Win, No Fee, so you won’t pay if we’re not successful.

Client Stories – Falling From Height

Frank fell 25 feet from scaffolding while laying bricks on a construction site. We were able to help him recover compensation and move on with his life.

What type of back injuries at work can I claim for?

There are many risks in the workplace that can cause a back or spinal injury if adequate Health and Safety measures are not in place. Some may be accidents, whereas others could have long-term effects, for example repetitive strain.

How do back injuries happen in the workplace?

The most common causes of back injuries are accidents at work. However, certain manual tasks may cause injuries over time, which are harder to pinpoint, but could still qualify for a claim.

Common back injuries in the workplace include:

  • Slips, trips or falls
  • Falling from a height
  • Falls caused by broken or unstable chairs
  • Objects falling from a height and landing on you.

Other back or spinal injuries related to specific tasks may be caused by:

  • Improper lifting of heavy objects (without proper training)
  • Repeated lifting of heavy loads
  • Repetitive strenuous tasks such as manual packing
  • Strenuous physical work including crouching and bending over
  • Posture issues, for example, through bad computer placement.

These task-specific issues may cause ongoing back pain – which you shouldn’t have to put up with. Alternatively, accidental injury may result in short or long-term spinal damage, for example through prolapsed discs, ligament, tendon or soft tissue damage, or in extreme circumstances – paralysis.

Frequently asked questions for back and spinal injury at work claims

Can I claim if I have a pre-existing condition or previously had a back or spinal injury?

Pre-existing conditions do not rule out your ability to make a claim. However, you need to be able to prove that your job made the condition worse. You should speak to a medical professional and ask our claims teams for more information.

Do I need to attend a medical?

After seeing your doctor, you may be asked to attend further appointments. For example, we may recommend one of our trusted medical professionals, or your employer may send you for an assessment as part of Occupational Health.

Can I claim for a back injury at work if I'm working on a zero-hour contract?

Yes, you can. You still have the same rights as full-time workers – it is your employer’s responsibility to keep your workplace safe. If you’ve had a back injury that wasn’t your fault, you could make a claim.

Can I claim for a back injury at work if I'm a self-employed contractor?

Yes, you can. When you work for an employer on-site, you have the same rights as full-time employees. Your employer is still liable to pay out of their Liability Insurance if you’re injured at work.

What are the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992?

According to the Office of National Statistics, more than 130 million working days are lost per year due to injuries at work. The MHOR was set up to prevent risks from manual handling, which it defines as “transporting or supporting loads by hand or bodily force”. Under the act, employers must first avoid any hazardous manual handling, second assess how to avoid hazardous manual handling, and third, reduce the risk of injury as much as possible.

What is the average compensation amount for a back injury at work?

Our table below is a guide to the amounts of compensation you may receive if you’ve injured your back at work. These amounts are based on a combination of case law, our previous claims, and the Judicial College Guidelines.

These amounts do not include additional compensation you may be able to claim for your out of pocket expenses.

Speak with our accident at work solicitors for more information and to find out how much you might be entitled to claim for your injury.

Average compensation amounts for back injuries at work

Part of bodySeverity of injuryAmount of compensationTypes of injuries
NeckMinorUp to £6,680.00Soft tissue injuries or whiplash with recovery within 3 – 24 months. Compensation factors include severity of pain and amount of negative effects on everyday life.
NeckModerate£7,410.00 to £47,760.00Covers injuries that accelerated a pre-existing condition, disc lesions, cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent and/or recurring pain, all caused by fractures or dislocations.
NeckSevere£56,100.00 to £139,210.00Serious fractures, severe soft tissue damage, chronic pain conditions, disc damage, partial paraplegia, or significant, permanent disability.
BackMinor£2,090.00 to £10,670.00Includes lighter strains, sprains, disc prolapses, and soft tissue injuries. Recovery between 3 months and 5 years.
BackModerate£11,730.00 to £26,050.00Includes: spinal fusion, compressed or fractured lumbar spine (possibly resulting in higher risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain), prolapsed discs and other injuries that may require surgery and a continued acceleration/worsening of a pre-existing back condition.
BackSevere£36,390.00 to £151,070.00Typically requires surgery. Injuries include: damaged spinal cord and partial paralysis, psychological issues, loss of bladder and/or bowel function, disc lesions, impaired movement, arthritis, etc.
ShoulderMinorUp to £6,730.00Soft tissue injury resulting in pain. Full recovery between 3 – 24 months.
ShoulderSerious£10,890.00 to £16,380.00Fractured humerus, clavicle or rotator cuff needing surgery.
ShoulderSevere£16,380.00 to £40,970.00Significant disability caused by severe damage to the neck or brachial plexus.
Pelvis & hipsMinor£3,370.00 to £10,750.00Complete recovery after minor soft tissue injuries. Little or no disability within 2 years.
Pelvis & hipsModerate£10,750.00 to £33,430.00No serious disability, but covers injuries requiring hip operations, replacement of hips (or the need for either in the future).
Pelvis & hipsSevere£33,430.00 to £111,690.00Severe hip/pelvis fractures resulting in bowel damage or spinal fusion, childbirth complications, hip replacement, and/or leading to higher likelihood of future surgery.
Scarring (not facial)Minor£2,020.00 to £7,380.00One noticeable scar or several superficial, unsightly scars on the legs, arms, or hands.
Scarring (not facialModerateUp to £7,380.00Full recovery within 2 years, up to a partial recovery with symptoms that are not largely debilitating.
Scarring (not facialSevere£6,680.00 to £19,390.00Several noticeable laceration scars or a single disfiguring scar.

Back pain jargon buster

You may experience one or more of these in your job. It’s best to understand what each type of back injury means so that you can explain your pain to your doctor.

  • Strains, sprains or pulls – these happen when muscles are overstretched or torn, and can make it difficult for you to move.
  • Lumbar spine trauma – this is lower back pain, which is caused by:
  • Fractures – breaks or cracks in the bone
  • Herniations – damage to spinal discs
  • Sprains or strains – ligament or muscle damage.
  • Spinal cord injury – this damages nerve fibres, which can result in loss of bowel control, loss of feeling, or paralysis (inability to move/feel).
  • Brachial plexus injury – this is damage to a network of nerves in between your shoulder blades. It can feel like numbness or tingling, or cause pain in your hands and arms.

Contact Express Solicitors today

Everybody deserves to work in a stable, safe environment. If you have a back injury that was caused or made worse by your job, contact our professional teams today. We’ve managed to win more than £160 million in personal injury compensation, and are happy to help on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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