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How to claim compensation for construction and building site accidents

You can claim compensation for construction or building sites accidents if the accident was not your fault or your employer was negligent.

Last updated on November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when making a construction or building site injury claim:

  • Construction sites are hazardous environments with extra Health and Safety laws
  • You can claim for an accident if your employer was at fault
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis
  • You have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim
  • The amount of compensation you may receive will depend on the seriousness of the injury, loss of earnings and changes to your lifestyle.

Construction and building site accident claims

If you’ve been injured while working on a building site, you may be able to claim compensation. As hazardous workplaces, construction sites are subject to their own regulations including The Construction (Design and Management) regulations, as well as standard workplace practices. It is your employer’s responsibility to follow these regulations. If they have not and you’ve had an injury on-site, we can help you claim.

Our specialist solicitors offers more than 20 years’ experience handling accident at work claims. Contact our no win no fee solicitors for a free consultation about your accident.

When can I make a construction accident claim?

If you’ve suffered an injury on a construction site that wasn’t your fault, call us today. Generally, you have three years from the date of the accident to make building site injury claims, though there are some exceptions to this.

You may be able to claim for your accident Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, it is your employer’s duty of care to maintain a safe environment – whether you’re full-time or a contractor.

Get in touch with our solicitors today for a no win, no fee consultation and we’ll explain your legal rights to claiming compensation.

We ask you to make a claim as soon as you feel fit enough to do so. This will help us collect the most accurate evidence. You should also be ready to offer your own evidence for example training records, photographs/CCTV footage, medical notes and witness statements where appropriate.

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How long after my accident can I claim for an injury?

It’s best to get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can present your building site accident claims accurately. However, you have up to three years from the date of the accident to make construction site injury claims. If your claim relates to an injury that wasn’t directly caused by an accident, for example repetitive strain, then you will have three years from the date of diagnosis. You should keep all your medical records.

The following exceptions to the three-year limit apply if:

  • You were not physically able to claim within three years e.g. if you suffered a brain injury
  • You were under 18 at the time – in which case, you can claim up to the date of your 21st birthday
  • The construction site was overseas
  • The equipment you were using was faulty. You can claim for up to three years after the equipment was discovered to be at fault e.g. if manufacturers recalled it.

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.

How much compensation can I claim for an accident on a construction site?

Every claim is different, so there’s no specific amount you can claim. Our trained solicitors will look at various factors to determine the settlement for your construction site injury claims, for example how serious your injury was, loss of earnings, and how it made an impact on your life.

As a guideline, the Judicial Board provides estimates based on whereabouts on your body you were injured, and how serious this was. We will always go the extra mile to make sure you get as much compensation as possible. The following guideline figures may be able to help:

  • Scarring (for example through chemical burns) can be as much as £18,000
  • Injuries affecting the head, vision or hearing can be as much as £300,000
  • Severe back injuries can be as much as £128,000
  • Injuries to the hands, arms or legs can be as much as £200,000.

The more serious your injury, the higher the compensation will be. We’ll listen to your building site accident claims and try to settle as large a compensation amount as possible – including interim payments while you’re waiting. These may help for treatment costs if you’re unable to work.

How is compensation for building site accidents calculated?

As every case is different, our expert lawyers use a number of factors to calculate the final total of your construction site injury claims. That’s why you should give us as much evidence as possible regarding your injury and the impact it’s had on your life. We’ll consider factors like:

  • The extent of the damage, both physical and psychological
  • Money lost from time off work/paying for treatments/travel
  • Any adjustments to your home
  • Changes to your lifestyle e.g. inability to go about your hobbies
  • Having to change jobs.

When our solicitors present your case, you’ll hear your physical injuries classed as ‘general damages’, whereas ‘special damages’ refer to money you’ve lost. In some cases, we can also help with interim payments – a small sum of your total compensation to tide you over while you’re waiting for your case to be settled.

Find out how much you could claim

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Compensation amounts are estimated based on the level of injury below

What are my legal rights to claim compensation if I’ve been injured on a building site?

Your employer must, by law, keep your workplace safe and do everything possible to prevent injuries. If for any reason you feel that your employer has not met these hazardous workplace regulations, you could make construction site injury claims. Your employer will be insured with Employer’s Liability Insurance. If you’ve got a case to claim, then any compensation you receive will come out of this insurance. For example, you could make construction site injury claims if:

  • You haven’t received adequate training e.g. with equipment or manual handling
  • You’re not given enough break times
  • You’re made to use faulty equipment
  • Your employer has not carried out a risk assessment/has not acted on findings.

It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure everybody on-site sticks to these regulations. They also need to make sure that visitors are safe. If they fail to provide a safe workplace, they could be responsible and you may be able to claim for compensation.

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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.

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

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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.

Who is responsible for keeping the building site safe?

As there are so many people working on a building site, for example the construction company, architects and site managers, it can be hard to find who is at fault for construction site accident claims. Here are some examples of those who may be liable to pay for building site accident claims:

Site managers

If the site manager did not follow instructions given by a client, they could be deemed responsible.

Construction regulations coordinator

If the construction regulations coordinator did not warn the client (the construction manager) about risks, they could be to blame.


If the designer ignored the client’s health and safety advice, her or she could be responsible.


If the client ignored advice from Health and Safety teams such as the construction regulations coordinator, they could be to blame.

The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for conducting site inspections, issuing guidance and prosecuting those who break the rules – but it is not responsible for paying building site injury claims.

On top of the Health and Safety at Work Act, those running a construction site also need to be mindful of the following laws:

Under the 1996 act, your employer must take all necessary precautions to prevent injury e.g. making sure scaffolding is safe and preventing falls from great heights, or storing equipment safely. They must also prevent falls of more than 2m, and make sure employees have safe access to and from work.

Under the 2015 act, the site Health and Safety Executive must conduct site inspections, give guidance to operators and prosecute those who do not follow the rules.

If you’ve had an accident, we can help you to determine who is at fault. We’ll guide you on how to gather evidence to settle your construction site accident claims.

Choosing the right no win, no fee solicitor

When you contact Express Solicitors, you’ll have access to a friendly expert team of solicitors with more than 20 years’ experience handling building site accident claims. We may be able to handle your claim on a no win, no fee basis – which means you don’t pay if we’re not successful.

We specialise in going above and beyond to get our clients the compensation they deserve. We’ve won more tens of millions in personal injury claims, taking on some of Britain’s largest employers for a fair settlement. Where other lawyers might do the bare minimum, we’ll always take on your case and make sure your claim reflects what you’ve been through.

For a free consultation with our sensitive, expert team, contact Express Solicitors today.

How to make a construction site injury claim

Whatever your personal circumstances, it’s helpful to get in touch with us as soon as you can. This helps us to gather the most accurate evidence to support your claim. The process comes in three simple steps:

1. Call us or fill out a contact form to request a call back. We’ll have a friendly chat with you to discuss the nature of the incident, how you were injured, and the effects the injury had on your life. We’ll also ask for evidence like medical records, photos or witness statements.

2. Once you’ve given us your evidence, our expert solicitors will start the claims process. This will involve claiming against whomever was responsible for the injury – for example, your employer. Payments usually come from Employer’s Liability Insurance, though there may be other sources, for example if a faulty piece of equipment was to blame.

3. If we’re successful, you’ll receive compensation minus any legal fees. In some cases, these fees are paid by the person or organisation you’re claiming against. The majority of our claims are no win, no fee, so you’ll only pay if we win. We may also be able to offer ‘early compensation (interim) payments’ while you’re waiting for your claim to be settled.

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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What information do I need to make a claim?

We’ll ask you to provide as much evidence as possible when making your claim. This will help us to prove that you were not at fault, and to maximise your final compensation amounts. Get in touch with us as soon as you feel physically fit enough to do so.

What should I do after a construction site accident?

At the time of your accident, you should report it to your manager and make sure it is recorded, for example in the company accident book. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should seek medical treatment – you’ll need this not only to get better, but as evidence to support your claim.

Evidence of injury – general damages

Once you feel well enough to claim, you should have as much evidence as possible. Ask for printed copies of your medical records, and make a copy of the accident book at work. If you have any training records, you should make copies of these too. Your employer may ask you to go for a separate medical assessment as part of Occupational Health duties.

In some cases, photographs will help – for example, photographs of your injuries or of visible dangers on the site. You may also be able to ask colleagues for witness statements, which they can email to us.

Evidence of injury – special damages

You should also hold on to any receipts which prove you have lost money as a result of your injury. These could be travel receipts to your doctor, or receipts for physical treatment. In some cases, you may even need to make adjustments to your home.

You should also keep a log of any time off work you’ve had, or any potentially missed appointments at the job centre. Anything you have that can demonstrate how the injury has affected your life will support your case.

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What type of construction site and building site injuries can I claim for?

As construction sites are hazardous environments, poor Health and Safety could lead to serious injuries including:

Neck or head injuries

Falling objects, crush injuries, falls from harnesses and even poor manual handling can all lead to neck or head injuries on a building site, with some resulting in life-changing circumstances.

Slips, trips and falls

If the construction site is not kept tidy, workers may trip over hazards. Similarly, there are many opportunities for workers to fall from a height, particularly if they have not been adequately trained to work from a height, or if their equipment, such as scaffolding or ladders, is faulty.

Crush injuries

Crush injuries may happen on building sites due to falling objects, or through the mishandling of machinery. Staff may not be adequately trained to use certain machinery, or it may not have been inspected, resulting in a malfunction and potential injury.

Chemical burns

Under COSHH regulations, employers have a responsibility to train construction site workers in how to use chemicals appropriately. Builders may be exposed to vapours, aerosols, dust particles and gases, all of which may harm their skin or lungs.

Electric shocks

If a worker is not correctly trained in using a specific piece of equipment, he or she may suffer an electric shock. Similarly, if the product is faulty, the hire company may be at fault, or the site manager could take responsibility for failing to carry out inspections. Electric shocks can be life-threatening.

How can accidents happen on a construction site?

Building site injury claims are often caused by accidents to do with working in harsh weather conditions, poor equipment, or falling materials. Some of the commonest hazards include:

  • Objects falling from a height
  • Slips, trips or falls due to unstable ground/wet surfaces
  • Vehicle collisions such as with forklifts
  • Equipment malfunctions – badly maintained equipment or inadequate training
  • Injury from repetitive strain – no or little manual handling training
  • Falling into unguarded holes or trenches
  • Falls from a height e.g. with unsafe scaffolding
  • Safety harness failure
  • Electric shocks
  • Chemical spills.

Many of these may be caused by poor workplace practices, such as not inspecting equipment. Our experienced work accident solicitors can help claim compensation for a construction site accident by identifying who was at fault.

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Frequently asked questions about construction site accidents

Can I claim for a construction site accident if working on a zero-hour contract?

Whatever your working hours, you can make a claim. It is your employer’s responsibility to keep you and visitors safe on the construction site.

Can I claim for a building site accident if I’m a self-employed contractor?

You can still claim. While you are working on the building site, your employee rights are covered by the Health and Safety Act 1974. It is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe.

Do I need to attend a medical?

You may be asked to attend a medical after you’ve seen your doctor. We may offer you one of our trusted specialists, or your employer may ask for a second examination as part of their duty of care.

What evidence should I collect after an accident?

You should make copies of any workplace documentation such as the accident book, or records of your training. You should also produce medical records, police records (if appropriate), receipts for anything to do with your treatment, and photographs where possible. Any witnesses may be asked to email us with a statement.

Average compensation amounts for construction and building site accident claims

Part of bodySeverity of injuryAmount of compensationTypes of injuries
HeadMinor£1,880.00 to £10,890.00Covers head injury with recovery within a few weeks. Higher compensation if symptoms include headaches.
HeadModerate£13,430.00 to £112,130.00Symptoms ranging from poor concentration, lower and higher risk of epileptic attacks, minor personality changes, depression, more severe intellectual impairment, or injuries/symptoms leading to a vegetative state.
HeadSerious£186,890.00 £240,590.00Covers reduced life expectancy, serious physical symptoms, serious changes to personality or intellect, large dependence on others due to paralysis or otherwise.
HeadSevere£240,590.00 to £344,640.00Covers minimally conscious state (life expectancy less than 15 years), severe disability, brain damage with little/no response, vegetative states needing full-time nursing.
EyeSevere£56,080.00to £229,260.00Complete blindness on one/both eyes or severe visual impairment on one/both eyes.
FaceMinor£1,460.00 to £7,460.00Light or no scarring on the face, but no fractures, loss/damage of one/two front teeth, simple fractures of the jaw or nose, but with a possibility of complete recovery.
FaceSerious£15,320.00 to £26,010.00More serious fractures such as a broken jaw or nose, breaking/damage/loss of several teeth.
FaceSevere£26,010.00 to £38,850.00Severe injuries resulting in facial disfigurement, several jaw fractures, chronic tooth pain, and scarring. May lead to eating restrictions or higher risk of joint arthritis. Covers negative effects on mental health.
Ear/ hearingMinorUp to £5,980.00Possible Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), slight/occasional tinnitus.
Ear/ hearingModerate£12,700.00 to £25,350.00Partial hearing loss or mild to severe tinnitus.
Ear/ hearingSerious£25,350.00 to £38,850.00Complete deafness in one ear. Severity varies based on additional symptoms (e.g. dizziness, tinnitus, etc.).
Ear/ hearingSevere£77,430.00 to £120,040.00Complete deafness in both ears. Higher compensation for child injuries also resulting in a loss of speech.

Compensation amounts for back, neck, shoulders and upper body injuries

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.

Compensation amounts for arm, hand, and finger injuries

Part of bodySeverity of injuryAmount of compensationTypes of injuries
ArmMild£5,630.00 to £16,380.00Fractured forearm.
ArmModerate£16,380.00 to £33,430.00Serious arm injury leading to long-lasting symptoms.
ArmSerious£33,430.00 to £111,690.00Serious injury resulting in an inability to use the arm(s) to some extent. Does not result in amputation.
ArmSevere£82,040.00 to £255,930.00Results may include the amputation of one/both arms. Compensation amount will depends on amputated area, whether phantom pain is experienced, and on other effects on the quality of life.
ElbowModerateUp to £10,750.00Includes: tennis elbow, deep cuts, simple fractures, no permanent damage.
ElbowSerious£13,360.00 to £27,320.00Results in restricted movement but does not require surgery or cause disability.
ElbowSevere£33,430.00 to £46,780.00Injury causes severe disability or requires surgery.
WristModerateUp to £8,740.00Uncomplicated Colles fracture or minor undisplaced fractures with recovery between 1 – 2 years. May include use of plasters.
WristSerious£10,750.00 to £20,900.00Soft tissue damage or broken wrist causing some permanent disability.
WristSevere£20,900.00to £51,070.00.Significant permanent disability or complete loss of wrist function.
HandMinorUp to £4,050.00Covers lacerations and crush injuries, and soft tissue injuries (recovery within 6 months).
HandModerate£4,780.00 to £11,330.00Covers penetrating wounds and crush injuries resulting in permanent but non-intrusive symptoms, or soft tissue damage and deeper cuts resulting in impairment of the hand (may require surgery).
HandSevere£24,740.00 to £171,920.00Covers amputation and rejoining of several fingers, resulting in a clawed, impaired, or unsightly hand, amputation of one/both hands (alternatively, amputation of several fingers rendering the hand almost useless).
FingerMinorUp to £4,055.00Includes: full-healed fractured finger bones (healed within 1 year) with/without minor scarring.
FingerModerate£3,370.00 to £5,000.00Includes: complete (or almost complete) recovery after broken finger, amputation or loss of a part of the little finger.
FingerSevere£10,380.00 to £31,350.00Includes: complete amputation of one/more fingers, fractures of the index finger. Compensation depends on level of disability and suffering.
ThumbMinorUp to £4,055.00Short-term, severe pain gone within 3 months.
ThumbModerate£3,370.00 to £10,750.00Covers fractures with recovery within 6 months, damage to nerves or tendons resulting in partial loss of sensation, and cosmetic thumb deformities.
ThumbSevere£10,750.00 to £46,780.00Partial/complete amputation of the thumb, surgical wire insertions, nerve damage, fractures, inability to grip.

Compensation amounts for leg and foot injuries

Part of bodySeverity of injuryAmount of compensationTypes of injuries
LegMinor£7,780.00 to £12,010.00Minor injuries with recovery within a few months (e.g. soft-tissue injuries, bruising, cuts, and contusions). Slightly more severe injuries such as simple fractures of the femur, tibia, or fibula.
LegModerate£15,320.00 to £46,780.00Minor fractures with partial recovery, serious soft tissue injury, injuries to one leg (e.g. broken bones, crushing injuries), ligament injuries, compound fractures leading to near certainty of arthritis or instability.
LegSevere£46,780.00 to £240,590.00Severe injuries resulting in extensive degloving, bone grafting, permanently reduced mobility, or amputation of one/both legs (above/below the knee).
KneeMinorUp to £11,730.00Includes soft tissue injuries (recovery within a few months), a twisted knee, lacerations, or bruising resulting in discomfort or pain.
KneeModerate£22,340.00 to £37,070.00Includes: seriously damaged kneecaps, ligaments, or muscles, dislocation, a torn meniscus, acceleration injuries (over several years), resulting in ongoing discomfort or pain.
KneeSevere£44,470.00 to £82,080.00Covers constant pain, severe disability, or muscle wastage. Higher compensation if need for surgery or injury effects quality of life.
AnkleMinorUp to £11,730.00Smaller fractures, but bone has not been displaced. May include sprains, injured ligaments (likely leads to scarring). Smaller injuries can allow for full recovery within a year, without any scarring.
AnkleModerate£11,730.00 to £42,710.00Includes ligament tears, fractures, leading to smaller disabilities while standing/moving. Increased risk of osteoarthritis. Operation/cast needed. May lead to inability to work or call for special footwear.
AnkleSevere£42,710.00 to £59,480.00Severe injury resulting in deformities, disabilities, or even amputation of the body part down the line.
AchillesMinor£6,200.00 to £10,750.00Minor instability due to tendon damage around the ankle. Some more severe cases might involve scarring.
AchillesModerate£10,750.00 to £17,970.00More serious injury and partially ruptured tendon. More severe cases tend to involve disability and/or permanent scarring.
AchillesSevere£21,320.00to £32,780.00Restricted movement of the ankle due to severed muscle tissue. Small likelihood of further improvement of limp and residual scarring.
FootMinorUp to £11,730.00Includes: minor fractures, lacerations or contusions (with complete recovery within 2 years), ruptured ligaments or other puncture wounds that result in chronic pain or a permanent limp.
FootModerate£11,730.00 to £59,730.00Includes: metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent deformity and ongoing symptoms, fractured heels (both), restricted mobility, degloving and heel fusion.
FootSevere£71,640.00 to £171,920.00Injury needing amputation of one/both feet or traumatic amputation of the forefoot (to prevent need for complete amputation).
ToeMinorUp to £8,190.00One or more broken toes with a varying recovery period. Compensation depends on presence of long-term symptoms and speed of recovery.
ToeModerate£8,190.00 to £11,730.00Multiple fractures, crush injuries to two/more toes, permanent disability. May have involved unsuccessful past operations.
ToeSevere£11,730.00 to £47,830.00Severe crush injuries leading to less/surgical amputation of one or two toes (not including the big toe), amputation of all toes or the big toe.

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