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What you should do after an accident at work

Members should make the free call to lodge their claim - 0800 055 6333

You will need to provide your:
  • Name and address.
  • Telephone and email contact details.
  • Date of birth.
  • Date of accident.
If you have your membership number it will speed up the process - but the membership number is not essential.

The operator will give you a case number which you should keep safe. You will then be put through to a solicitor straight away.

Reporting the Accident

Make sure that you:
  • Let your Usdaw rep know about the accident.
  • Tell the employer and get it recorded in the Accident Book.
  • Check that the Accident Book entry is accurate and keep a copy of it.
  • Ask for help from your rep if there is any problem in getting the correct version of events in the Accident Book.

Keeping the Evidence

You must keep any letters, memos, receipts or any other documents that will be useful in your case. Also any receipts, tickets or evidence of expenditure.

You also need to keep wage slips and make a note of the pay you receive from the employer whilst off work.

You should work with your rep to make sure that any tools or equipment which were involved in the accident are not thrown away but are kept safely for future inspection. If vehicles, fork-lift trucks, etc are involved, make sure you have the registration or serial number to identify the vehicle involved.

Health and Safety Investigation

Independent research shows that workplaces with a trade union are twice as safe as those where there is no employee consultation on safety. Please make sure that you tell your Usdaw rep about your accident. This will give them a chance to investigate it and raise their safety concerns with the company. This will not only be useful for your accident claim but will help make the workplace safer for others.

You must co-operate with any reasonable investigation the employer needs to make because of their duties under health and safety law. The purpose of the investigation should be to identify what went wrong and decide what can be done to prevent it happening again. It is important that they stick to the facts about what happened and avoid getting into discussion about who was to blame. You should have your Usdaw rep, or a trusted colleague, present when the manager is interviewing you.

Apart from the accident investigation you should not make any statements to the company, its insurers, their solicitors, or anyone else acting for the employer in connection with the claim.

Medical Examinations

If your employer, their insurance company or solicitor wants to arrange to have you medically examined, you should not agree to anything until you have spoken to your Usdaw solicitor.

The employer may wish to meet you to discuss your future employment situation. This might include the prospects of returning to work, transferring to different work, or dismissal.

Before the meeting they may want to arrange a medical examination to assess your ability to return to work. You should co-operate with your employer as fully as possible about this. This examination should concentrate solely on your fitness to return to work.

Contact your Usdaw rep before any meeting with the company about your employment situation.

Seeing Your Doctor

You should see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident so that there is a record of it. This is important because the doctor may be asked to provide a medical report later on.

You should also go back to your doctor if the injury continues to give you trouble, not only to get the proper treatment but also so that there is a record of it.

Sick Pay

Company sick pay may be payable - this will depend on the terms of your contract.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) should be payable through the payroll. If SSP is not paid you should query the position with the employer and contact the Benefits Agency.

Employment and Support Allowance

You should claim Employment and Support Allowance if the injury is still causing problems, whether or not you have returned to work. To do this you need to get a form from the local Benefits Agency.

The Benefits Agency will get a doctor to examine you and assess the degree of disability. The assessment will determine whether you receive any benefit and how much you get. So you must send a copy to the Union solicitors dealing with your claim along with any comments. The solicitors dealing with the accident claim should also be told if your condition changes after the Benefits Agency assessment is made. If there is any need to appeal against the decision of the Benefits Agency, the Union solicitors should be able to advise.

Claiming Union Benefits

You may be entitled to Union benefits if you are off sick.

Warning about Filming

Insurers sometimes obtain evidence of a claimant's capabilities, for example, by secretly filming them doing DIY or shopping, if they suspect the claimant of exaggerating their injuries. The courts can allow such evidence to be used. The message to members, of course, is to be honest about the extent of their injuries.

Keeping in Touch

You must tell us whenever something important happens which may affect the case.

Tell the Usdaw Legal Department if:
  • You change your name.
  • You change your address.
  • You change your phone number or email address.
  • You change your job or lose your job.

Tell your Usdaw appointed solicitor if:
  • You change your name or contact details.
  • You have hospital treatment or an operation.
  • Your medical condition changes.
  • You discover any new evidence or witnesses.
  • There are major changes in the way you do your job compared to before your accident.
  • You change or lose your job.

Contacting Usdaw - Use the Case Number

You should always use the Usdaw legal case number when you write to or telephone the Union. This is because we deal with thousands of claims and this number helps us to find the file quickly.

The Usdaw legal case number is usually printed in bold type at the top right of an Usdaw letter and will be your name with a six-figure number after it, for example:

P Smith/14/1234/A

A Choudhry/12/4798/K

In Personal Injury cases you will be given a case number when you contact FirstCall Usdaw.

Members are welcome to contact Usdaw to discuss the claim. However, generally you should contact the Usdaw solicitors for any information or advice in respect of the progress of a personal injury case.

It is usually better to write than to phone, but if you have trouble putting what you want to say on paper, you do not understand something, or you want to discuss the case with the Usdaw Legal Department, then you are very welcome to do so.

Contacting the Usdaw solicitor

Usdaw solicitors will appoint a named person to deal with the claim.

Address any queries to that person directly. When telephoning or writing to the Usdaw solicitors use their reference number. If this is not available, give them the Usdaw case number and the name of the employer.

Make sure you keep the contact details of the solicitor in a safe place. Contact the Legal Department if the contact details get lost or you have any difficulty getting hold of the solicitor.

Members’ Checklist

  • Have you called FirstCall Usdaw?
  • Have you told your Usdaw rep?
  • Have you reported the accident to management?
  • Have you recorded the accident in the Accident Book?
  • Do you agree with the record?
  • Have you kept a copy of your Accident Book report?
  • Have you reported the accident to Job Centre Plus? Get the appropriate form from them to get it declared an industrial injury.
  • Is your accident being investigated?
  • Have you made enquiries at your local Benefits Agency and claimed your full entitlement to State Benefits?

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