Accidents in the workplace can happen at any time. While the consequences and outcomes of these incidents are fairly straightforward to see, establishing who is liable for accidents can be a little more challenging.
In some scenarios, there will be clear evidence of who and what is at fault or responsible for a workplace accident. In others, incidents can be subjective and disputes become increasingly more likely.
In this article, we delve into the question at hand to consider who may be liable for an accident in the workplace and what can happen if there are opposing views.
When is the employee responsible?
Employees can be held responsible for workplace accidents through fault or actions of their own doing. Particular scenarios such as reckless behaviour and abuse of substances or alcohol on the job can leave the employee solely liable for any accidents or wrongdoing.
Improper or unauthorised use of company equipment and supplies that cause injury can also leave the responsibility with the employee themselves. These circumstances can be difficult to evidence without security camera footage or eyewitnesses.
An employer needs to have sufficient evidence that the employee was solely at fault because of their own actions to avoid any further investigations and potential legal disputes.
When is the employer responsible?
Employers are legally bound to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees and if they fail to take the necessary steps then they can certainly be held liable.
Not providing sufficient levels of training, failing to maintain equipment and not supplying appropriate personal protective equipment are all reasons that can leave employers liable for a workplace injury.
Vicarious liability means that employers can also be held responsible for the actions of their employees in harming or injuring other employees or members of the public. This means that if one colleague does something directly or indirectly to hurt another, the employer is liable for their actions and not the employee.
In the event of an accident where liability falls to the employer, they are legally required to report the incident, allow you time off should you need it, and pay you sick pay.
What if there’s a dispute?
Disputes over workplace accidents are common and they usually result in legal battles. If you think your employer was responsible for an accident you had at work which resulted in injury and they aren’t accepting liability, you are well within your rights to discuss personal injury claims with a solicitor. If you are successful in your claim, you may be able to receive compensation for the losses or injuries that you have suffered.