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How to claim compensation for a back injury at work

Has your job led to an accident or ongoing back pain? Speak to Express Solicitors for a No Win, No Fee personal injury claim.

Last updated on June 11th, 2021

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

  • Under Health and Safety and Manual Handling laws, it is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe
  • Back injuries in the workplace can be caused by accidents, through repetitive manual tasks, or poor equipment such as office chairs
  • You can claim on a No Win, No Fee basis
  • You have three years from the date of the accident/diagnosis to make a claim
  • Total compensation amounts depend on the severity of the injury, loss of earnings and changes to your lifestyle.

Back injury at work claims

If you’ve suffered a back injury at work, you’ll know first-hand just how painful and limiting this can be. In the most extreme circumstances, you may have to stop working or change careers, particularly for long-term injuries.

It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure your workplace is safe. Whether you’ve suffered pain, financial loss or changes to your lifestyle, you deserve compensation. The team at Express Solicitors offers more than 20 years’ expertise in settling back injury compensation claims. If you believe the injury was not your fault, speak to our personal injury solicitors about making a No Win No Fee claim.

Who can claim for a back injury at work?

Whether you’re full-time, zero hours or a contractor, you can claim for a back injury in the workplace if your employer was at fault. 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.

In some cases, you may even be able to claim for back injuries if you were partly at fault. For example, if you had an accident due to careless use of equipment, but your employer failed to train you, 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.

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What type of back injuries can I claim for?

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

How can 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 workplace accidents 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 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 damage, for example through prolapsed discs, ligament, tendon or soft tissue damage, or in extreme circumstances – paralysis.

How to claim for an accident at work

Want to know more about claiming for an accident at work. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for an accident at work?

Read our accident at work legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

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.

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How much pain do I need to be in to make a 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. You can use our back injury claims calculator to judge the severity of the damage.

How to make a back injury claim

If you’ve had an accident and damaged your back at work, you should call a back injury at work solicitors as soon as possible. You should try to collect as much evidence as you can before you get in touch – for example, logs in your workplace’s accident book, photographs and witness statements.

If you have ongoing pain and suspect it may be related to your job, speak to your doctor. You should be able to produce medical records and gather any relevant evidence you can to back up your claim. Be mindful of time limits, however – in most cases, you can only claim up to three years after diagnosis.

What is the Law on compensation for back injuries 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 injuries, this means providing you with all relevant training, whether for machinery or manual labour.

Physical roles are also covered by the 1992 Manual Handling Operations Regulation, which means your employer has to offer you 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 solicitors would claim compensation, which would be paid by Employer’s Liability Insurance.

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?

Generally speaking, you will have three years from the date of your accident to make a claim. If yours is a chronic back injury, then you will have three years to claim from whenever your doctor diagnosed you – as long as you can prove it was caused by your job.

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 can I claim if I injure my back at work?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to compensation amounts. Our trained lawyers take into consideration many factors such as severity of the injury, time off work, loss of earnings and changes to your lifestyle.

However, the Judicial Board Guidelines can provide an estimate figure depending on the damage caused. At Express Solicitors, we always go above and beyond to ensure you get as much compensation as possible.

  • Back injuries requiring up to two years’ recovery can be as much as £6,000
  • Back injuries causing permanent symptoms can be as much as £30,000
  • Serious back injuries with a significant permanent impact can be as much as £70,000
  • Severe back injuries with spinal cord damage can be as much as £128,000.

Please remember, these are guidelines only. We’ll listen to your case sensitively and try to secure you interim payments if you’re having treatment.

How is compensation calculated?

When you speak to our expert solicitors, we’ll ask you for as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This helps 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.

You might hear injuries referred to as ‘general damages’ whereas ‘special damages’ relate to any money you’ve had to pay out while recovering. 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 can I choose the right solicitor?

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.

How to start a back injury compensation claim

It’s best to get in touch with us as soon as you can – whether you’ve had an accident or a diagnosis from a doctor. This helps you to provide us with the most accurate evidence to support your claim. Your personal injury claim is a three-step process:

1. You can give us a call or fill out a contact form to request a call back. In this initial consultation, our friendly teams 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.

2. 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.

3. 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. We can also offer interim payments on successful claims to tide you over while you’re waiting.

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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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What information do I need to make a claim?

There are many types of evidence you can gather to support your claim. If you have an accident at work, make sure it is logged in the company accident book, and be prepared to make copies of this.

Ask for any medical records if you need to visit a doctor. If the police had to get involved, for example in a driving accident while at work, you can ask for a police report. Ask any witnesses to prepare a statement via email.

If you have visible symptoms, try to photograph these as evidence. In some cases, symptoms may not show up straight away, particularly with back injuries, which can ‘flare up’ later on. Our expert teams will be able to talk you through this if your pain comes and goes.

Some employers will offer their own medical assessment, but it’s always best to go to your GP. We can recommend you local medical professionals to see for an accurate assessment.

If you’re claiming for loss of earnings (including any potentially lost bonuses or trips to a job centre if you’re unemployed), you should keep a record of this. Include any relevant receipts as well, for example, records of travel to appointments.

Finally, if possible, try to gather evidence of any failures on your employer’s part. For example, you might have records of manual handling training that has not been updated, or evidence of faulty machinery.

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.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I’ve injured my back at work?

You should call us as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide evidence including medical reports, witness statements, and proof that the accident was not your fault, such as pictures of faulty machinery.

Can I claim for an accident at work if 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.

an I claim for an accident 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.

Can I claim if I have a pre-existing condition or previously had a back 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.

What evidence should I collect after an accident?

You should keep any medical records, police records where appropriate, witness statements and receipts to prove loss of earnings. You may have a log of accidents in a workplace book, so you should make a copy. Try to provide photographs if you can, for example of your injury or faulty equipment.

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.

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