We can’t think of any employer that gets a warm fuzzy feeling when they hear, “they’re putting in a claim”, however the claims process was put in place to help those who are legitimately injured or ill to seek compensation in order to (and this bit is important) put them back in the financial position they were in before the injury or illness occurred.
However, like most good things, some people take the opportunity to manipulate the system for their own selfish gains.
We want to help employers defend claims where they are exaggerated, unwarranted or fraudulent.
Time to sort through some misconceptions:
Usually it isn’t. As an employer you do need to provide employees with the correct PPE relevant to do their job. If a claimant says that you failed to provide the correct or any PPE, or they are making an industrial disease claim, insurers will expect you to provide evidence that you have imposed its usage. A couple of ways to do this would be to have employees sign an attendance sheet for PPE Tool Box Talks, to have weekly check sheets to make sure they are using it and also records of disciplining those who are not wearing it!
As a side note, if employees do not wear the PPE you are telling them to, do something about it!
- “That car was parked illegally therefore aren’t they at fault.”
This is one that we see surprisingly often and the blunt answer is, no. Insurers will put onus on your driver if a) they have hit a stationary vehicle and b) they are reversing. So, if you reverse into a stationary vehicle, there’s really only one outcome and that is a fault claim, therefore making sure that your drivers are competent is important.
- “They were in my blindspot so I can’t be held fully responsible.”
Again, particularly with claims involving Vans and Lorries we often see this recorded on claims forms, a vehicle in your blind spot is fine as an explanation for accident circumstances. However, insurers are not able to use this to deny liability. If a vehicle is in your blindspot and you attempt a manoeuvre, you will be held responsible or there will at least be a split settlement if the circumstances are unclear.
- “It can’t be disputed because they admitted liability when we exchanged details!”
Unfortunately statements of liability made at the scene of the accident cannot be relied on. If a third party admits liability at the scene of the accident, they may tell their insurer a different story. Factors such as pressure to diffuse a conflict, shock and confusion are all taken into account by courts and insurers.
Another Note – some of the most helpful evidence for motor claims over the recent year has come from Dash Cams or trackers as it is used as hard evidence.
- “They should know better than to walk backwards, carrying a load through a busy factory…”
Where there are humans involved there is also human error and often a lack of common sense. From an insurers point of view you need to have documentation evidencing that you have assessed your risks (Risk Assessments), provided explanations on how to conduct the job safely (Method Statements) and trained them how to do it (training records). Without these three pieces of documentation it can be difficult, but not impossible, to fully defend a claim that arises from an accident at work.
It is also important that you keep these documents for the foreseeable future, especially with the amount of industrial disease claims rising. As a ProAktive client you have access to an online risk management and documentation system called InterAktive.
- “Everyone who has an accident will claim!”
Not everyone who is injured in work or has an accident on your site will claim or even be entitled to receive compensation. However it is important to make sure that your company is a safe place to work. Not just for the sake of your business but also so that you can sleep at night.
If you would like to discuss any of the topics covered above or to enquire further about the InterAktive system and how it can help your business please contact us on 01302 341 344.
By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) Cert CII – InterAktive & Projects Support