I have worked for an employer for such a long time we are now really friends. I recently suffered a bad eye injury at work. I feel guilty about claiming and he has asked that I don’t. Should I still claim?

This a situation we come across very often particuarly when we are approached by a manual worker who is employed by a small business. In such businesses it is inevitable that people become very close and build up deep rooted loyalties. If the worst then happens and the employee suffers a serious injury this can put an emormous strain on this relationship.

Following such serious accidents at work the employee will be being pulled in two directions. He will have his friends and family saying he should claim but his employer (also a friend) pleading with him not to thinking he will get into trouble and face a crippling rise in his insurance premium.

Here is the truth about this situation.

Your friend must have insurance. Every employer is obliged by law to have insurance in place to pay out if an employee is injured through the employer’s negligence. If your  friend the employer does not then he is no friend at all. Only someone who thinks nothing of you would leave you and your family exposed to ruin just to save a few pounds. So remember if he is insured then it will be the insurers that will pay you out.

Most people ask if the employer will face a rise in his insurance? The answer is “probably” but from experience this may just be by a very modest amount quite often just a few hundred pounds or so. Insurers set their premiums in the expectation that some claims will be made and set those premiums based on national figures. Your claim will make very little difference. The amount you will recover for your claim will normally vastly exceeed the extra amount your employer will pay.

Workers wrongly believe that their employer will get into trouble. NO he won’t. He should already have recorded the accident in the accident book and reported it to the Health and Safety executive if it is serious. As your lawyers we would not report the case and it will make no difference to your employer whatsoever if you claim or not.

If you do not claim you are merely doing yourself and your family out of money in order that your employer will save a measly few hundred pounds and his insurance company will be very happy about their profits.

Personally, as an employer myself, I take out insurance every year to make sure that if anyone is injured at work they will be looked after and if this happened I would positively encourage them to claim. I would want them to be paid out if they were injured. I like and respect my staff, why would I think another way?

So my advice is to discuss it with your friend and recognise that it is in everyone’s best interest (except the insurers) if you claim your rightful compensation. Do not for a minute feel guilty.