The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have hit out at the government over reforms that have left the relatives of people killed at work, facing a tough battle to get compensation.
Speaking on Worker’s Memorial Day yesterday, APIL President, Matthew Stockwell insisted that everybody had a right to go to work and come home unharmed.
He said: “On this day of all days, we should stop to reflect that 107 lives were lost in British workplaces between April and December last year. One death is one too many. Everyone has a right to go to work and return home unharmed.
“During that time the law on making a claim for an injury or death changed in favour of employers – the very people responsible for ensuring safety at work. Employers have always had the upper hand in legal challenges, as they control the workplace and hold all the information. Their advantage is even greater when the main witness, the employee, can’t give his own version of events because he has been killed.”
Stockwell went on to lambaste the government for essentially turning back the clocks with their reforms to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which now requires the claimant to prove the employer was negligent.
The old system would see bereaved families or injured people being able to rely on the fact that their employer had breached health and safety regulations in order to bring a workplace claim, a system that was much fairer according to Stockwell.
He explained: “For example if some protective equipment was faulty, the family of the deceased now have to prove that the employer knew about it. Proving how much someone else knows is certainly far more difficult that proving the fact that regulations put in place to protect that worker have been breached.
“Losing someone you love is tough enough, without having to face a gruelling struggle to hold the responsible employer to account. Many people won’t even try, despite having every right to.
“When someone doesn’t return home from work because his employer failed to keep him safe from harm, his family should not have to battle through bereavement for justice.”
1. Insurance Post; http://www.postonline.co.uk/post/news/2296489/bereavement-damages-are-a-postcode-lottery-say-lawyers