Injury or Illness Caused Several Years Ago
Ancient wounds come back to haunt
It is not uncommon for an employee to want to make a personal injury claim against an employer several years after an illness or injury was initiated as a result of working for that employer. This can be for a number of reasons and is perfectly acceptable, although there are certain time frames for some personal injury claims.
One reason that an employee may not make a claim for several years is that they may have been unaware that they can claim. It is only in recent times that there has been a surge in personal injury claims. This has mainly been propelled by the dramatic rise in solicitors working on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. It may prove to be too late to claim, but it is always worth trying. In general, the time limit for making a claim is three years from when the accident took place or when the injury or illness was noticeable.
It is not uncommon for an illness to lay dormant for many years after you have worked for an employer, and that is why the law allows three years to claim from when an illness or injury becomes noticeable. You may have to provide proof, however, that you did not have knowledge of the illness or injury before this time.
Finding an employers liability insurance policy
Any compensation that you will be awarded will relate to the employers liability insurance policies that were in place at the time your illness or injury was caused. An employer has to renew their employers liability insurance each year, so it is important that you can find the details of an expired policy.
It used to be the law that employers had to hold on to expired employers liability insurance policies for 40 years after the policy had ceased, but since 1st October 2008, this was no longer a requirement. However, many employers have held on to expired employers liability insurance policies as proof that they had relevant insurance and to stop them having to fund any claims out of their own pockets.
If you need to find an employers liability insurance policy then you can ask your previous employer if they still have a copy — most of them will. If they do not have the policy for any reason then explain to them that you are wishing to make a claim, and they may be able to at least give you details of the insurance provider. An employer should be happy to help you, as they could face personally funding your claim if the employers liability insurance policy is not found.
What if my previous employer has gone out of business?
This is an unfortunate situation that in this day and age can be a common occurrence where businesses thrive and fall in a matter of years. However, it is still possible for you to claim compensation from the insurer who issued the employers liability insurance policy at the time you were working for the employer.
Finding an employers liability insurance policy for an employer that has gone out of business can be a difficult task, and it may be worthwhile seeking legal advice. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau should be able to help. You can also make use of the ‘Employers’ Liability Tracing Service’ that is run by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). You can visit their website (www.abi.org.uk) and fill in an enquiry form which will ask for details of your previous employer and the dates that you worked for them.
Do not fear as all is not lost in this situation. Hopefully with a bit of effort you will successfully trace the employers liability insurance policy that covered you and be able to then pursue a claim for financial compensation for your illness or injury.
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