On 31st July 2013, the new Ministry of Justice Reforms came into effect. These fundamental changes are designed to: 1 – reduce the costs incurred during employers’, and public, liability claims; and 2 – speed up this type of civil claim generally. With this in mind, all employers’ liability claims with a value up to £25,000 will now be managed through an online system called the “Claims Portal”.
Tighter timescales have been introduced, along with a fixed costs regime and stiff penalties for non-compliance. An injured employee still has three years in which to make a claim against you, but you’ll probably no longer receive the traditional solicitors letter, your insurer will probably hear about it before you do! The initial response period has also been slashed from 90 days to 30, to confirm whether or not liability is accepted. Failure to respond in time will result in legal costs dramatically rising, even if the claim is eventually defended successfully.
In the event of a workplace accident, you must immediately conduct a comprehensive investigation.
1 – Inspect the scene and take photos
2 – Secure the premises and retain a permanent copy of CCTV footage
3 – Interview the person, record it and ask them to sign and date the statement
4 – Complete an accident investigation report
5 – If the incident is notifiable to the HSE, complete the form and retain a copy
6 – Complete a pre-action document disclosure mandate
7 – Collate information relation to loss of earnings and obtain copies of medical certificates.