Can I sue my employer if I have had an accident at work?
Yes, so long as under the law your accident has been caused or even partially caused by the negligence of your employer or by your employer’s breach of health & safety legislation. We assess this at an early stage.
Do I have to pay tax on my compensation?
No, your compensation is tax free, although you can only recover loss of earnings net of income tax and national insurance.
How long will it take to get my compensation?
This varies considerably depending on several factors, including how cooperative the defendant and their insurers are, and whether they are prepared to admit liability for your claim at an early stage, but also depending on your recovery period and length of time that it takes to obtain the full medical evidence to support your case. On average, and depending on these factors, most cases take anything between six months and three years to conclude, although complex cases can take longer than this if they proceed all the way to a court hearing.
What is a success fee?
A success fee is the element of legal costs that we are entitled to charge if we win the case, to compensation us for having taken a risk that we would not be paid if we had been unsuccessful. It is the success fee that you are asked to contribute out of your compensation as we are no longer able to recover that element of legal fees from the defendant, even if we win the case, because of legal changes made by the government in 2013.
How much will a PI claim cost me?
Your claim will cost you nothing at all if we are unsuccessful as you will be protected from having to pay any legal costs in those circumstances. If we are successful with your claim you will be asked to make a contribution towards your legal costs out of your compensation but this will be capped at no more than 25% and you will therefore recover at least 75%.
I think a staff member is going to bring a claim for unfair dismissal what shall I do?
If the employee has already been dismissed, you must ensure that they have been given a right to appeal that decision. The employee will then need to commence ACAS Early Conciliation to raise their claim before issuing employment tribunal proceedings. The ACAS Early Conciliation will give you advanced warning of the claim and enables you to decide whether to offer a resolution, such as a settlement payment.
I want to discipline a staff member, what do I do?
You must ensure that you follow your own disciplinary procedure and the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This includes carrying out a separate investigation, inviting the employee to a disciplinary hearing, providing them in advance with details of the case against them, allowing the employee to state their own case and call witnesses or produce evidence, applying an appropriate sanction such as a disciplinary warning, and allowing the employee an opportunity of appeal against the decision taken. The employee also has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official at disciplinary and grievance meetings.
Are employment solicitors and HR consultants the same?
Employment solicitors will normally represent and advise clients in relation to contentious legal issues, whereas HR consultants will normally provide a hands-on service, for example sitting in disciplinary and grievance meetings to advice.
Should an employer use a solicitor to draw up a settlement agreement?
Settlement agreements can be complex. It is important that the agreement properly deals with the settlement of claims, applies the tax rules correctly, and sets out obligations regarding the employee’s post employment restrictions and confidentiality. As a settlement agreement is a legal document, it is advisable to instruct solicitors to draft an agreement appropriate to the employer’s requirements.
Does an employee need a solicitor for a settlement agreement?
Settlement agreements are used to resolve disputes between employees and employers, normally at the end of the employment. The law surrounding settlement agreements requires that employees must have independent legal advice in order for a settlement agreement to be binding. It is customary for the employer to pay a contribution towards the employee’s legal costs in taking advice on the settlement agreement.