Joanna Howard, an employment lawyer with Thompsons Solicitors, looks at the risks of injury – and benefits of CSP assistance
Health professionals are vulnerable to suffering injuries at work. CSP members, for example, have been injured lifting or operating equipment, manoeuvring patients, slipping on spilled liquids and tripping over carelessly-stored items.
Most accidents and injuries are preventable by employers. For example, back injuries all too often happen because the employer failed to carry out a risk assessment, didn’t provide training in manual handling techniques, or didn’t take steps to reduce the loads employees were expected to lift.
If you are injured due to the negligence of your employer then you may be able to claim compensation through the CSP legal service. It is important to take certain actions so that you have evidence.
You should immediately seek medical assistance and report the accident to the appropriate person. You or that person should also record it in the accident book.
It is also vital that you talk to your CSP health and safety representative.
They will be able to obtain a copy of the accident book and should know if anyone else has suffered a similar accident or made a complaint about, for example, a piece of equipment or an unsafe working practice.
This could help to prove that your employers knew about the risk.
Other useful evidence includes photographs of the scene of the accident and of any visible injuries. Any witnesses to what happened should write down what they saw.
Any claim for personal injury is subject to strict time limits. Legal proceedings must be started within three years of the accident, but any delay can be detrimental as important evidence, including witnesses, may be lost.
Once you have contacted the CSP legal service you will be referred to Thompsons Solicitors. An executive will contact you to discuss the accident in detail.
If the executive considers there are grounds for pursing a claim he or she will write to the appropriate defendant – usually your employer’s insurer.
The defendant is allowed time to investigate the circumstances.
It is likely that you will be examined by an independent doctor who will asses your injury and write a report that will be disclosed to the defendant, along with the financial losses you have suffered as a result of your accident.
It is often possible for your solicitor to negotiate a settlement, but if not then court proceedings may need to be issued.
Thompsons Solicitors advises the CSP on professional conduct cases
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