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Can I Sue My Employer for Emotional Distress at Work?

When you read about accident at work claims, you might think that it’s only possible to claim compensation if you’ve suffered a physical injury. However, a question often asked is, can I sue my employer for emotional distress? The short answer is that, yes, it may be possible to claim for distress, anxiety, depression and even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) linked to some workplace accidents. In this guide, we explore when that might be the case and the eligibility criteria that apply when claiming compensation for emotional distress at work.

If you or a loved one has been affected emotionally following an accident at work, we can help. If you contact us now, a legal advisor could review your case and answer your questions for free. If they believe you have grounds to sue your employer for emotional distress, they could connect you with a No Win, No Fee solicitor from our panel. If they agree to work for you, they’ll manage the claims process from beginning to end.

To speak to us about suing an employer for emotional distress, you can:

  • Call 0333 241 2519 to speak with a legal advisor.
  • Use our online chat service at any time of night or day.

There’s plenty more helpful information in this guide about emotional distress claims. If you have any questions while reading, please use the number above to get in touch.

What Types of Emotional Distress Claims Can We Help With?

Emotional distress claims against employers might be possible to cover the suffering caused by:

  • General psychiatric damage – including depression, panic attacks, anxiety, embarrassment, distress and other forms of emotional suffering.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – suffering caused by traumatic incidents such as those involving near-death experiences or life-changing injuries. The symptoms of PTSD can be all-encompassing and, in some cases, last for the rest of the injured party’s life.

As with any physical injuries you claim for, emotional distress will need to be diagnosed by a medical professional if you’re to be properly compensated.

Can I Sue for Emotional Distress at Work?

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that employers must “ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare” of their staff at work.

Some of the ways in which employers could meet their legal obligations regarding health and safety include:

  • Carry out workplace risk assessments regularly.
  • Removing as many hazards as possible when they are identified.
  • Training staff on how to do their job as safely as possible.
  • Providing face masks, protective clothing and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where required.
  • Ensuring that any machinery is fit for purpose, well maintained and safe to use.

As such, if you are thinking about suing your employer for emotional distress, before one of our solicitors offers to help you, it will first need to be checked that:

  1. Your employer owed you a duty of care.
  2. Your employer breached that duty because they were negligent in some way.
  3. You were involved in an accident in the last three years caused by that negligence which has caused you to suffer emotional distress

Please contact our legal advisors now if you’d like more information about making an emotional distress claim.

What Types of Accident at Work Can Cause Emotional Distress?

There are many different workplace accidents that could cause you to suffer from emotional distress. Some examples include:

There are plenty more examples of workplace accidents that could lead to emotional distress of course. Therefore, don’t worry about calling us if we’ve not described yours here. Simply use the number above to reach out to us and we’ll assess your case for free.

What Should I Do If an Incident at Work Has Caused Emotional Distress?

If you have been involved in an incident at work and are suffering from emotional distress, you should:

  • First and foremost, discuss your symptoms with your GP. They may suggest self-help remedies or refer you to a specialist for treatment.
  • Don’t suffer alone – tell your employer about the accident and how you’re suffering as a result.
  • Ensure the incident that has caused your suffering is logged in an accident report book.

Taking these steps will give your employer the opportunity to support your recovery while you’re working. It could also push them into making changes to try and stop others from being involved in similar incidents in the future.

What Evidence Can Be Used for Emotional Distress Claims?

To successfully sue your employer for emotional distress, you must be able to prove that they were responsible for your accident and how you’ve been affected as a result. Some examples of evidence that might strengthen an emotional distress claim include:

  • Copies of medical records and reports to prove the extent of your suffering.
  • CCTV footage and accident scene photographs to prove what happened.
  • Statements from family members or friends who can confirm how you’ve been affected mentally by the accident.
  • A copy of an accident report form or investigation report.
  • Details of anyone who witnessed the accident happening in case witness statements are needed during the claims process.

It is not essential that you have all of the evidence listed to start the claims process. Therefore, why not call one of our legal advisors now and let them assess the merits of your claim right away?

How Long Do I Have to Claim Emotional Distress Compensation?

Generally, following an accident at work, you’ll have 3 years to claim compensation for emotional distress from the date of the incident in which you were injured. This is a rule set by the Limitation Act 1980.

However, in some circumstances, this time limit could be extended. For instance, if you’re below the age of 18 the time limit will start when you turn 18. If the injured person lacks the capacity to claim (as per the Mental Capacity Act 2005), your time limit would only begin once you’ve regained that capacity.

Where a claimant never regains mental capacity, there is no time limit for claiming and someone else would be able to seek compensation on their behalf at any time.

Please get in touch if you’d like us to clarify how long you have left to start an emotional distress claim.

emotional distress at workplace background

Start the process of claiming compensation for emotional distress with our offer of a free consultation.

Our solicitors, with 30+ years of experience, offer a 100% No Win, No Fee service, giving claimants the means to pursue compensation without the need to pay any upfront fees.

Start a Claim

Alternatively, call now on 0333 241 2519 to speak to a specialist solicitor.

How Much Compensation for Emotional Distress at Work?

Compensation payouts for work-related emotional distress will normally formed by two separate heads of loss.

General damages is the first. This is compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by both physical and psychological injuries. Therefore, when claiming compensation for emotional distress, your solicitor will use medical records to help determine the extent of your suffering. They might also arrange for a report to be provided by an independent specialist such as a psychiatrist.

In addition to general damages, any settlement you’re awarded could include special damages too. This is compensation to cover any financial losses linked to your suffering. For instance, emotional distress compensation settlements could include:

  • Support and care costs.
  • Treatment and rehabilitation costs.
  • Lost income.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Future loss of earnings. These might be necessary, for instance, if psychological trauma stops you from ever working again.

To check how much compensation for emotional distress you might be entitled to claim, why not call our legal advisors on the number above now?

Can I Claim for Emotional Distress If I’m Not Employed Full-Time?

As with other aspects of your health and safety, employers have a duty to protect the mental health of their staff while they are working. Crucially, this covers all workers including contractors, agency staff, temps, zero-hours workers and self-employed staff.

Therefore, if you’ve suffered emotional distress at work following an accident caused by your employer’s negligence, one of our workplace injury solicitors could help you to claim regardless of the type of employment contract you have.

Will I Need a Solicitor to Sue My Employer for Emotional Distress?

We would suggest that having legal representation when suing your employer for emotional distress should make the whole claims process a lot less stressful. If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll manage your case from start to finish and ensure that you don’t need to enter into negotiations with your employer or their insurers.

Using their legal training and experience, your solicitor will try to ensure that any settlement you receive covers all aspects of your suffering. This could mean you’ll receive more compensation than would have otherwise been offered.

Crucially, our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for emotional distress compensation claims. That means that after signing a contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you won’t need to pay for any of your solicitor’s work unless compensation is awarded.

If you are paid compensation, a percentage will be retained by your solicitor as their success fee. This percentage is legally capped at 25 per cent for your protection by the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.

To see if you could sue your employer for emotional distress on a No Win, No Fee basis, please speak to a legal advisor now.

How Long Do Emotional Distress Compensation Claims Take?

Various factors can affect how long it will take for an emotional distress claim to be processed. Generally, how long it takes to prove liability and the extent of your suffering are key.

For instance, if you suffered nightmares and flashbacks for a few weeks after an accident at work but have since made a full recovery, you could receive a compensation payout in around 3 to 5 months so long as your employer accepts responsibility for the accident.

Conversely, if you are struggling with the symptoms of PTSD following a serious accident at work, understanding how you’ll be affected going forward might take some time. Therefore, such claims can take up to a year or more.

In these longer-term cases, if liability has been proven, you could be paid interim compensation to help you cope with any immediate financial costs such as loss of earnings, care costs and treatment costs.

Contacting Us About a Claim for Emotional Distress at Work

If you’ve been involved in an accident at work that’s resulted in emotional distress, why not get in touch to find out if you might be entitled to claim compensation? To do so, you can:

  • Phone 0333 241 2519 to speak with one of our specialists.
  • Use our online chat service at a time that suits you.

We won’t pressure you into starting an emotional distress claim but we will offer free legal advice about your next potential steps after reviewing your case.

Hopefully, this guide has answered the question, “Can I Sue My Employer For Emotional Distress?”. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call.

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