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Less access to justice for employees

From 1 October 2013, it has become far more difficult for many employees who suffer an injury at work to claim the compensation they deserve, due to a significant change in the law which has left many workers vulnerable.

Previously, employers needed to establish that they did what was “reasonably practicable” to avoid the accident. Now, in order to make a successful claim, employees will need to prove that their employer was “negligent”. What this actually means is that the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which has now come into force, switches the burden of proof following many accidents at work from the employer to the employee. Furthermore, even where an employer receives a criminal conviction for a breach of health and safety regulations, the employee will not be able to rely on the conviction to prove their case. They will still need to prove that their employer was negligent.

Many claims will now be too difficult for workers to pursue, many will fail where they would have previously succeeded and the risks and costs of pursuing many claims will become disproportionate to the amount of compensation claimed. This will no doubt have a significant impact on the lives of injured workers and their families, especially where workers are left unable to return to work as the result of an accident.

This drastic change in the law does not apply to public sector workers. However, as less than 20 percent of employees work in the public sector, over 24 million private sector workers will be affected.

This highly significant alteration in the law means that it is vital for injured workers to give themselves the best chance of accessing justice by instructing the right solicitors. Bolt Burdon Kemp has specialist knowledge in employer’s liability claims. If you have been involved in an accident at work which resulted in serious injury, please do not hesitate to discuss your potential claim with one of our experienced personal injury solicitors free on 020 7288 4800.

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