Road traffic accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury. They can be very traumatic for the victim, even if the injuries sustained are minor. In the UK there are an estimated 40,000 traffic accidents that are thought to be work related. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, work car, lorry and HGV accidents are the largest overall cause of occupational fatalities. In many of these cases, there may not be a third party driver who is responsible but liability may still rest with the driver’s employer. If you have been a victim of a road traffic accident that was the fault of your employer you may be able to claim compensation, which could help to cover the losses arising from the accident such as loss of earnings and any necessary treatment needed for your rehabilitation.
The most common types of claims for compensation for road traffic accidents are for whiplash, but claims can be made for a variety of injuries including broken limbs, bruises, or even psychological injuries. If a claim is to be made you should consult the advice of a personal injury compensation solicitor who will thoroughly review your case and give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure all work vehicles are in a safe, working condition and suitable in all respects that affect health and safety for the task. Employers also have a duty to ensure that their employees are safe to drive at all times and that they are not brought under pressure to exceed their drivers hours or given unrealistic loading or delivery schedules. As well as this, employers have a responsibility to ensure that safe working practice is followed in terms of seat belt usage and the implementation of regular training and refresher courses. Journeys must be correctly planned and risk assessed by the employer to take account of road and weather conditions, and drivers should be supported when they use their professional judgment to pull up or refuse to go out whether conditions are unsafe. If there is significant evidence that the underlying cause of the accident was due to your employer’s negligence for failing to provide a safe system of work or a suitable and sufficient risk assessment they could be held liable.
You may be eligible to make a personal injury claim for a work related road traffic accident if you were pressured into driving when tired or in hazardous weather conditions. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the courts increasingly recognise the duties of commercial fleet operators to assess and manage the risks to which professional drivers are exposed and the liability for damages this creates in the event of a road traffic accident. If you can establish that a work related road traffic accident occurred because of breaches of your employer’s legal duty of care then you will be eligible to make a claim, even if you are not strictly employed as a ‘driver’ but need to drive as part of your work.