Business News

GUEST BLOG: Should employers encourage an employee to make a claim?

By Business & Finance
07 September 2016

By Chris Salmon, Operations Director, Quittance

It may seem counterintuitive, but encouraging an injured employee to make an injury claim is often the best course of action for an employer.

The wellbeing of the injured party should be the primary concern, and the advice set out in this article should be considered in this context.

Even the most diligent and HSE-compliant employer can find themselves legally responsible for an employee’s injury.

An employer’s actions, or inaction, may amount to negligence. It may be that the employer is only partly to blame for an accident (contributory negligence), or entirely without blame but regulations nevertheless impose a strict liability. Any of these circumstances may lead to an injured employee pursuing legal action.


Employers, and particularly SMEs, can find themselves in a worrying period of uncertainty following an accident.

Many solicitors won’t take on a claim until the injuries have lasted for over a month. During this period, the employer may become distracted with worry about whether the employee is planning to make a claim, and what could happen next. When the employer does finally receive a legal action letter, this can lead to an almost all-consuming level of distraction. In a small company, this distraction is very likely to negatively impact the business.

It is far better to maintain constructive communication with the employee from the outset. The employer should ensure that all formalities have been completed, such as accident book reporting. The employer should also engage in positive dialogue with all parties.

Such an approach can positively affect the outcome and may also reduce the likelihood of the matter resulting in acrimonious court action.

The position of the company’s insurer may be the determining factor in whether a matter goes to court. Court action may therefore be unavoidable, and is inherently stressful for all involved. By maintaining open channels of communication with the injured employee, however, the employer can help promote a less-contentious climate.

Speaking on behalf of Quittance’s work accident claims department, Neil Wilson said: “The vast majority of cases are settled outside of court. In particular, we find that cases where employees and employers maintained a positive and constructive dialogue are those that settle with the least turmoil.

“In our experience, the biggest regret parties have is letting a procedural claim turn into an emotional confrontation. No one regrets being part of the solution.”


Following an accident at work, it is inevitable that employees will become concerned about the company’s approach to health and safety.

Clear communication about what the company is doing to address the situation, and what is being done to prevent future incidents, will help staff to feel safer.

The injured employee will be in contact with other members of the firm. Establishing and maintaining goodwill with all sides will help to prevent a negative counter-narrative from developing.


Accidents at work can be a PR disaster for companies. It is often the company’s response (or lack thereof) to a crisis however, rather than the accident itself, that does the most reputational damage.

Regaining the trust of the company’s employees and its customers is critical for the ongoing success of the company and all of those who depend on it for their livelihood.

The best way to address a potential PR disaster is to acknowledge the issue, along with any failings, and to exhibit the measures implemented to prevent a similar episode occurring again. These measures should not be platitudes. Meaningful steps must be taken to engage with and fix the problems that led to the accident.

Chris Salmon Quittance

Chris Salmon, Quittance


Employees injured at work may face a painful and distressing short-term injury, leading to financial hardship if they need to take weeks or months off work. In more serious circumstances, catastrophic injury may mean an employee is unable to work again and in requires a degree of full-time care.

Following an accident at work, it is inevitable that employees will become concerned about the company’s approach to health and safety

Employers have both a legal and moral duty to make best endeavours to provide a safe working environment. An employer should also consider their moral duty to contemplate the wellbeing of the employee following an accident.

In a non-cynical fashion, the company should also meet its obligations to the injured employee and should co-operating with the employee to support the employee’s return to work and ensure their future wellbeing.

In summary, if an employee is entitled to pursue a claim against your company, it is better to join forces with the employee to ensure they get the help and support they need. As a footnote employers are advised to coordinate with their insurers following an accident at work.

Photo (main): Keoni Cabral

About the blogger

Chris Salmon heads up the operational side of Quittance as the operations director.

He coordinates a number of aspects of the business including the online marketing activity.

Chris has been a director at Quittance since its incorporation.