If I Slipped At Work And Hurt My Back How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

By Max Malkovich. Last Updated 18th July 2022. All employers in the UK have a legal duty to ensure their workplaces are safe and free of hazards.  A part of this duty is ensuring that health and safety policies are in place and up to date so that the likelihood of accidents can be reduced to the lowest level possible, thereby protecting employees from harm. Employers are also required to ensure that all new employees receive training on relevant health and safety procedures. If an employer fails in these or other duties and you, for instance, slipped at work and hurt your back, depending on the circumstances, a personal injury claim may be filed.

If you have suffered a back injury at work through an accident you believe was someone else’s fault, you may have valid grounds to make a claim for compensation. Making a claim isn’t as easy or straightforward, so speaking to an experienced legal team can be a great help. Our panel of expert personal injury lawyers can give you the assistance you need to make a successful claim. Why not call us on 0161 696 9685 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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A Guide On Claims If You Hurt Your Back By Slipping At Work

Slipped at work and hurt back compensation claims

Slipped at work and hurt back compensation claims

Slipping at work could happen for a variety of different reasons, from on a wet floor to dropped food. Many accidents that occur could have been prevented if correct health and safety policies had been followed. If an employee slipped at work due to a negligent act or because their employer had failed to comply with the government health and safety requirements, they may be entitled to claim for their work injury back pain.

Making a personal injury claim isn’t as straightforward as some people make it out to be, which is why we’ve produced this guide to enable potential claimants to find out more about what is involved and what the outcome could be. 

The guide will first cover some background information on what type of accidents could result in back injuries in the workplace, and what the causes of these accidents may be. We look at statistics showing the rates of slips, trips and falls whilst at work and discuss how you may hurt your back by slipping at work and what symptoms you could experience. We also look at the prevention of slips and trips at the workplace and your employer’s responsibilities. The guide then goes on to discuss what additional damages you may claim for and how much slip, trip or fall cases pay, as well as giving information on how a personal injury solicitor could help you make your claim.

In What Workplace Slips Could You Hurt Your Back?

There are numerous ways in which you could hurt your back whilst at work. Slipping, tripping and falling over could result in a back injury and be caused in a variety of preventable accidents. If, for example, a floor is wet after being cleaned but no warning signs have been put in place, or if there is a leak which is not attended to as soon as possible and no warning signs are not put in place or the area taped off, then someone could potentially slip and hurt themselves. In both examples, slipping over in these areas could’ve been prevented. Likewise, if in a restaurant, café or works canteen some food or drink is spilt but not cleaned up and an employee slips over, resulting in a back injury, their employer could be found guilty of negligence as, once again, the accident could’ve been prevented if health and safety policies and procedures were in place and correctly followed.

Back injuries may range from minor sprains and pulled muscles to severe disk or spinal damage. If an employee is injured at work through a slip and fall accident that was no fault of their own, they may be able to claim for damages which can alleviate some of the financial burdens an injury may bring, and also give the claimant some sense of closure to their ordeal.

Statistics Highlighting Rates Of Slips And Falls In The Workplace

According to HSE (Health And Safety Executive) statistics, slip, trip and fall accidents are by far the most common of all workplace accidents reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013(RIDDOR). So what percentage of workplace accidents are slips, trips and falls?

Non-fatal injuries to employees by most common accident kinds statistics

Non-fatal injuries to employees accident statistics

(Non-fatal injuries reported under RIDDOR 2018/19, includes those accident kinds that account for 5% or more of the total)

As can be seen from the graph above, 29% of workplace accidents involved a slip, trip or fall.

In 2018/19, there were 0.5 million cases of musculoskeletal workplace injuries reported with 40% of those being related to back injuries. 6.9 million days of work were lost in the same year due to musculoskeletal injuries.

In 2017/18, workplace injuries cost Great Britain £5.2 billion.

Causes Of Slip, Trip And Fall Accidents In The Workplace

As can be seen from the statistics above, slip, trip and fall accidents are very common, particularly in the workplace. There are many reasons why slip, trip and fall accidents can occur and often they could be prevented. Potential causes of slip, trip and fall accidents may include:

  • Wet Ground Surfaces – If the floor is left wet either after cleaning or following a leak for example. In these cases, warning signs should be erected by the hazard to warn employees of a slip risk.
  • Spillages – Similar to the above, a liquid spillage or even a food spillage or any type of spillage that leaves the floor contaminated and therefore slippery, could result in an accident if it is not cleared immediately or warning signs erected until it is possible to clear the floor.
  • Icy Surfaces – If surfaces in work premises, such as in car parks and work entry and exit areas, are not treated to prevent ice from forming when required, an accident could occur.
  • Damaged Or Uneven Flooring – Flooring that is left damaged or uneven could result in a trip and fall accident. This could be especially dangerous if the defective flooring is in a stairwell, causing someone to fall down the stairs.
  • Lighting – Poor lighting or lack of lighting can contribute to an accident where someone could slip, trip or fall.
  • Untidiness – Work areas need to be kept clear of clutter to prevent trip hazards. If walkways are left with items in the way, such as trolleys, boxes,  or rubbish bags, for example, there’s likely to be an accident at some point. In factories and workshops, tools should not be left lying around. Good housekeeping is essential for preventing such accidents from happening.

What Ways Could You Hurt Your Back By Slipping At Work?

What are some of the most common injuries after slips, trips and falls? 

Many injuries could result from a slip, trip or fall, such as cuts and grazes, bruises and mild sprains, to broken or fractured bones, serious sprains, concussion or damage to the spine.

As mentioned above, 40% of musculoskeletal injuries at work were back injuries, some of which will likely be resultant from a slip, trip or fall accident. 

It may be that you’ve tripped over and fallen either forwards or backwards, fallen from a height or slipped over causing you to fall on your back. However the accident occurred, several different injuries could result, ranging from minor to severe. These include:

  • Minor to serious strains and sprains to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the back;
  • Disk injuries – These may include bulging or herniated disks;
  • Broken or fractured vertebrae in the spine;
  • Injury to the coccyx;
  • Damage to the nerves in the spinal column;
  • Paralysis.

If you have sustained a back injury at work and believe that your accident was caused by your employer’s negligence, you may wish to find out more about slipped at work claims. Call Legal Helpline today and speak to an experienced personal injury solicitor who will be able to help you.

Symptoms If You Hurt Your Back By Slipping At Work

There are several symptoms that you may experience if you hurt your back at work. Some may be mild and short-term, others could be more serious and debilitating, causing tremendous pain that could last months or years. Symptoms of a damaged back may include:

  • Pain or tenderness when touched;
  • Pain that becomes worse with movement, laughing, coughing, or sneezing;
  • Muscle spasms either side of the back;
  • Unable to stand up in a straight position without difficulty, if at all;
  • Difficulty and stiffness when attempting to move;
  • Swelling;
  • Bruising;
  • Pain that shoots down one or both legs.

The following symptoms can also mean that the back injury is severe:

  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing;
  • Blood in urine;
  • A feeling of pins and needles in hands, arms, feet or legs;
  • Paralysis.

Back injury symptoms may not appear at their worst straight away but may develop in the hours following a slip, trip or fall accident.

The level of work back injury settlements will largely depend on the severity of the injury, the level of pain experienced, the injury duration, the chance of long term or permanent problems, level of disability and the effect on the claimant’s lifestyle.

Prevention Of Slips And Trips In The Workplace

All employers in England and Wales have a legal obligation and responsibility to ensure that the working environment they provide is a safe one for their employees. The legal requirements of employers are set out in the Health And Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The HSE gives guidance on what employers could put in place to cover the basic health and safety requirements.

Some of the things employers should be doing to reduce the likelihood of a slip, trip or fall accident from happening include:

  • Relevant policies and procedures – health and safety-related policies and procedures should be in place and regularly reviewed to show staff how they can act and what they must do in the event of something happening that could lead to an accident, such as how to deal with a spillage, how to keep things tidy, stack shelves safely, report any damages and so on.
  • Training – it’s all well and good having the health and safety policies in place, but without ensuring all employees have received the related training, they will be ineffective, therefore employers must ensure that employees are trained adequately.
  • Providing PPE footwear – anti-slip footwear should be provided when necessary.
  • Correct type of flooring – in certain employment, certain types of flooring should be laid to lessen the chances of slipping. For example, anti-slip flooring should be used in kitchens.
  • Damaged or defective floor coverings – These should be attended to as soon as possible and in the meantime sectioned off.
  • Risk assessments – employers should carry out regular risk assessments to ensure that their employees aren’t subjected to any unnecessary hazards and that measures are implemented to reduce or prevent any risks that flag up in the assessment.

Employees also have a duty to themselves and each other to make sure that they abide by the health and safety rules and regulations set by their employer, and not to put themselves at any unnecessary risk. If you have sustained a back injury at work, providing you can prove it was caused by someone else’s mistake, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim.

Compensation for a Back Injury – Compensation Calculator

If you’ve slipped and fell on your back, you may be able to claim compensation if you can prove that your injury was caused by negligence. There are two types of damages you can potentially claim for.

General damages compensation relates to the suffering, pain and negative impact on the quality of life resulting from the injury. Aspects that can determine the extent of the compensation include:

  • The severity of your injury
  • If any permanent symptoms or health issues have been caused
  • Whether you’ve suffered any loss of amenity

If you’re making a back injury at work claim, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can provide you with a clearer idea of what you could receive for general damages. These figures (taken from the 2022 guidelines) are only meant to give you an indication of potential compensation.

Injury TypeSeverityDescriptionCompensation Bracket
BackSevere (i)Cases in the top end of this bracket will involve severe spinal cord and nerve root damage. £91,090 to £160,980
BackSevere (ii)Special features of these injuries include damage to nerve roots that lead to impaired bowel and bladder function and unsightly scarring. £74,160 to £88,430
BackSevere (iii)Disc fractures or disc lesions that lead to conditions that are chronic in nature where, despite treatment such as surgery, disabilities remain. £38,780 to £69,730
BackModerate (i)Substantial risk of osteoarthritis is caused due to a crush/compression fracture of the lumbar vertebrae. £27,760 to £38,780
BackModerate (ii)Frequent back injuries are included in this bracket. This includes muscle and ligament disturbances that cause backache. £12,510 to £27,760
BackMinor (i)Where less serious strains and sprains recover without surgery within two to five years. £7,890 to £12,510
BackMinor (ii)Full recovery is experienced within one or two years without surgery. £4,350 to £7,890
BackMinor (iv)The injury takes up to three months to recovery from without surgery. Up to £2,450
Psychiatric Damage (General)Moderately SevereSerious problems persist with important aspects, such as work and education, However, prognosis is more positive than in more severe cases. £19,070 to £54,830
Psychiatric Damage (General)ModerateThere will be a marked improvement by trial. As such, there will be a good prognosis.£5,860 to £19,070

Compensation figures are based on many different aspects which is why the figures above are not guaranteed. If you would like to get an estimate that relates to your injury, please contact our advisors for a free legal consultation. They can be contacted using the details above.

What Special Damages Could I Claim?

As well as general damages, it’s possible to claim special damages too. The purpose of this head of claim is to compensate you for any financial losses or expenses that you have incurred or will incur in the future. This could include loss of earnings, the cost of medications or medical procedures, or travel costs to doctors appointments. The most important thing to do is to keep all of your receipts and invoices safe, even bus tickets. Without evidence, you cannot claim.

Steps To Take If You Have A Back Injury At Work

When claiming for a back injury, you will need to provide evidence to back up your claim and prove the defendant’s liability. Therefore you should try to do the following:

  • Medical Assistance – This is a must! Apart from seeking medical attention for the sake of your health, it is also vital for your claim. Seeking help from a medical professional will firstly allow your injury to be diagnosed and allow you to receive the treatment you need which is the most important first step. Through this, a medical report will be made which you will be able to use as evidence for your claim.
  • Photographs – If possible, take photos of the accident site including what caused you to slip and fall. Also, take photos of your injury if it’s possible to see the level of suffering you have endured.
  • Witnesses – Take the details of any witnesses so that they may be contacted to provide a witness statement.
  • Report – Report the accident to your employer and make sure it is entered in the works accident book which is a legal requirement, and ask for a copy.
  • Legal Help – Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss the possibility of making a claim.

Why Make A Claim Against Your Employer With Legal Helpline

The panel of personal injury solicitors that work alongside Legal Helpline have decades of experience in the personal injury claims and are specialists in this particular field. 

Legal Helpline offers excellent customer service which includes:

  • Free legal advice
  • Free consultancy session
  • Free local medical
  • The opportunity to enter into a No Win, No Fee Agreement.

At Legal Helpline we work diligently and with great care to make sure we build a strong case for our customers. We are a friendly and honest team that want the best for our customers and this shows through with our level of dedication to each case. Our attitude is mirrored in the solicitors that we work with. All of them offer a highly professional service and will guide you through the complexities of the legal process with ease. They will strive to win you the maximum amount of compensation possible, and if at any time you have a query or would like an update on your case, they’ll be on hand to take your call.

No Win, No fee Claims If You Slipped At Work And Had A Back Injury

Our panel of solicitors can give you the option of entering into a No Win, No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA is designed to offer claimants financial protection and the confidence to pursue justice. If you sign a CFA with a solicitor from our panel, you will not have to pay any fees upfront, nor will you have to pay any fees during your claim either. And if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any of the fees your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your case.

If your claim is successful, your solicitor may seek a small contribution towards their costs. This is known as a ‘success fee’ and would be deducted from the compensation awarded at the end of the claim. Don’t worry, the success fee is legally capped!

Contact Legal Helpline Today

To discuss the details surrounding your claim and to get it underway, contact Legal Helpline on 0161 696 9685 and we will do our best to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Further Slip And Trip Accident Claim Resources

NHS Back Pain Guide – The NHS provides information here regarding back pain, causes and treatment.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries –  Information about spinal cord injuries is provided here by the Spinal Cord Association.

HSE Preventing Slips And Trips At Work – The HSE provides information here on how employers can help to prevent the occurrence of slips and trips at work.

 

Guide by KH

Edited by REG