I Had An Accident At Work Abroad – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

By Mark Anderson. Last Updated 1st March 2021. Nowadays it is not unusual for people from the UK to spend some time working in another country. This could range from a weekend-long business trip to spending a gap year volunteering with a humanitarian project or having a fixed-term contract of several years working in another country on behalf of your employer. As with any other form of employment, there is a chance, however slim, that you may suffer an accident at work abroad. An accident at work that wasn’t your fault can entitle you to seek compensation from your employer; however, you might be concerned that an accident when working abroad might complicate your right to do so.

Accident at work abroad

Accident at work abroad

Depending on your contract and whether you are employed with a UK based company may determine which country your accident at work claim would take place. At Accident Claims UK, you could work with personal injury solicitors who will help you win all the compensation that an accident when working abroad should entitle you to if you are employed with a UK based company.

The number to ring to reach our team is 0800 073 8801, there you can speak to someone about starting a claim and any other issues that concern you about making a compensation claim. But before you do that, why not read through the guide we have prepared below? It covers the basic information about how to seek compensation for an accident when working abroad, and it may prove useful if you are considering doing so.

Select A Section

  1. A Guide To Claims For An Accident When Working Abroad
  2. What Is An Accident At Work Abroad?
  3. How Many People Work Abroad?
  4. Types Of Overseas Job Roles
  5. Accidents Which Could Happen On A Business Trip Abroad
  6. Could I Claim For An Accident When Working Abroad With A UK Solicitor?
  7. Does The Country My Employer Is Based In Affect My Claim?
  8. What Should I Do If I Had An Accident When Working Abroad?
  9. Will Making A Claim Against My Employer Affect My Job?
  10. Fall And Trip Accidents At Work Abroad
  11. Road Traffic Accidents At Work Abroad
  12. Accident At Work Compensation Calculator
  13. Special Damages You Could Claim For A Work Accident Abroad
  14. No Win No Fee Claims For An Accident When Working Abroad
  15. Let Us Handle Your Claim For An Accident At Work Abroad
  16. Essential References
  17. Accident At Work Abroad FAQs

A Guide To Claims For An Accident When Working Abroad

In the modern economy, there is nothing unusual about people being sent to work abroad by their employers or for people to spend some time working in another country of their own volition. It is normal for British companies to have operations abroad and to move their staff around the world. Some people’s jobs might require them to travel abroad regularly from place to place, such as holiday reps or cruise line workers. Others might work in one place for an extended period of time, such as people sent abroad to work as a project manager. Some roles might entail more serious injuries than others, such as the risk of an oil rig accident faced by people working in the oil and gas industry. There are ones that only pose the risk of a standard office accident, such as falling out of a faulty chair.

If you were working for a UK company under UK law, if the accident wasn’t your fault and you are injured, you could be entitled to claim compensation from your employer for breaching their duty of care to ensure a safe working environment. Of course, there may be differences in certain cases between claiming for a work accident while working abroad and claiming for a work accident while working in the UK; this guide will explain in as much detail as possible, but with so many different countries and so many different judicial systems we cannot provide all the information here, so for further guidance, please call our advisors for more information.

What Is An Accident At Work Abroad?

Accidents at work while abroad can be caused by much the same circumstances that cause people to get hurt at work here in the UK. For example handling a faulty piece of equipment that had not been checked and maintained properly, being made to perform certain tasks without the pre-requisite training or working in an environment in which you could be exposed to harmful substances asbestos without protective equipment. It isn’t just these obvious dangers that could cause an accident; people can suffer accidents and injury in more mundane environments, such as offices, when basic steps such as clearing away tripping hazards aren’t taken. Employers based in the UK have a duty of care laid down by the Health And Safety At Work Act 1975 to ensure that the workplace and the employees are safe; this duty may extend to workers whom they have sent abroad.

The UK generally has a lower accident rate for workplace injuries, including fatalities on worksites, than in EU countries. For instance, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) noted that, according to a Eurostat study, in 2017 there were 520 incidents per 100,000 workers of an accident at a workplace. This is in comparison to 700 incidents per 100,000 in Germany; 810 per 100,000 in Poland; 930 per 100,000 in Italy; 1,700 per 100,000 in Spain; and 3,000 per 100,000 in France. Note, though, that this only emphasises the need for employers to keep staff safe when working abroad. As you can see, some countries have higher rates than others for accidents. And that could increase the likelihood of an accident at work abroad for you. Please call our advisors for more information.

If you are working abroad and you become injured in other environments other than work, if you are injured or made ill due to third party negligence, you may be able to still claim depending on various circumstances. Check out our guide to making accident claims abroad to applicable information on that issue. We will address this in further detail below.

How Many People Work Abroad?

It is difficult to say with absolute certainty how many British people are working abroad. The United Nations 2017 say 1.3 Million people born in the UK live in other EU countries. These figures are also only for EU countries. It does not include the number of British people living and working abroad outside the EU. What they do tell us, however, is that in any case, the number of UK born people and UK citizens working abroad is huge, based on the UN figure of 1.3 million UK born people and UK citizens constitute the fifth-highest number of immigrants into other EU nations.

Types Of Overseas Job Roles

With so many different types of employers, the types of jobs one could hold while working abroad is as great as the number of jobs one could potentially have in the UK. Some of the more common occupations that might take you overseas include:

  • Working for a cruise line
  • Working as a holiday rep
  • Working in foreign aid
  • Working on construction projects
  • Working in the oil and gas industry

Accidents Which Could Happen On A Business Trip Abroad

Many businesses regularly send their employees abroad on business trips; this can be to attend conferences, to meet clients or to meet up with business partners or departments of their organisations based abroad. Your employer may still be liable if you suffer an injury while on a business trip that was caused in some way by their failure to meet their duty of care to you by ensuring your safety.

Other examples of an accident at work abroad that might happen while on an overseas business trip include being involved in a road collision, suffering from food poisoning, or having an accident at your hotel. Claims could be made against foreign businesses for these types of accidents or against a travel agent if the trip arrangements were made through a UK travel agent as part of a package deal.

Could I Claim For An Accident When Working Abroad With A UK Solicitor?

Just because the accident happened in a country other than the UK doesn’t mean that a solicitor from the UK couldn’t handle the case. In fact, if your employer was a UK based company while you were working abroad or if the arrangements for travelling or your accommodation were made by a UK based travel company as part of a package deal, then the case could be made under UK law. We could also provide you with a solicitor who has experience and qualifications in working in foreign law.

Does The Country My Employer Is Based In Affect My Claim?

If the employer you were working for while working abroad were not a British based company, then the case would be made under foreign law rather than UK law. This may mean that the way the case operates could be quite different than if the case was made in the UK as many countries have laws regarding health and safety, time limits on making personal injury claims, different way of calculating compensation amounts, and so on that are different to the UK. That being said, this should not deter you from approaching us for help in making an accident at work claim for something that happened while working abroad. A number of our solicitors aren’t just qualified to make claims in the UK but are also equipped to handle claims through the courts of other countries.

What Should I Do If I Had An Accident When Working Abroad?

Here are some useful notes on what to do when you have an injury from an accident at work abroad. You might find them helpful if it has occurred very recently, or they may come in handy if you find yourself in such a situation in the future.

  • Seek medical attention; your immediate well-being trumps any consideration of legal action for the time being.
  • Record the information in an accident book. In the UK, all workplaces must have an accident book for logging a record of when any accidents occur. If you are being employed by a UK based company, then you should get in touch with them as soon as possible so that they can make a record of it. If there is an accident book in the workplace itself where the accident occurred, then you ought to record it in there as well.
  • Take down the contact details of other people at the scene who witnessed the incident. They can be contacted later to request that they state support of your claim.
  • Take pictures if you can. Photograph the area where the accident occurred and take photos of what caused the accident.
  • Write down everything that happened as closely as you remember it while it is still fresh in your memory.
  • Contact our solicitors. We can advise you on whether your situation merits making a personal injury claim. If it does, and we can help, we will refer you to one of our solicitors to begin the process of making a claim itself.

Don’t worry if you haven’t gathered any evidence of your own yet, as a solicitor can put together the evidence to support your case.

Will Making A Claim Against My Employer Affect My Job?

You might feel intimidated by taking legal action against your employer. You may be worried that they could give you the sack or otherwise victimize you for seeking compensation from them. Don’t worry that if you are employed by a UK based company, the law in the UK guarantees you the right to claim compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault, and it is illegal in the UK for an employer to dismiss someone for making a claim. If you are concerned, remember that you have every right to a safe working environment, and the law is on your side. If your employer is deemed liable, our team will be happy to address any worries you have about claiming against your employer. For more information, you can contact us.

Fall And Trip Accidents At Work Abroad

Tripping accidents are the most common form of workplace accidents in the UK, and there is no cause to believe that the case is any different in other countries. Tripping accidents in the workplace can be caused by packaging and other objects being left out in the corridors, by the carpet or linoleum in the workplace being tattered and poorly fitted and by steps or uneven flooring not marked with a warning sign. Wet floors and icy surfaces can also cause accidents from people slipping over on them. This may all seem coincidental, but it is, in fact, your employer’s responsibility to make sure that the workplaces they operate are as free as reasonably possible from possible tripping and slipping hazards as part of their duty of care to their employees. This duty of care extends to the businesses property outside the workplace, as in pavements and car parks on their property. If you trip or slip while on your employer’s property in the UK, then they could be liable if they haven’t taken reasonable steps to prevent such accidents. For more information on slips, trips and fall claims in general, you can read this guide here and this one for slips, trips, and falls at work in the UK.

Road Traffic Accidents At Work Abroad

Being involved in a road traffic accident while abroad could entitle you to make a compensation claim if the accident wasn’t your fault. It could be that your employer would be liable in some way, for example, if they supplied you with a vehicle or a company car that was unsafe to drive.  Other road traffic accident claims could be made either against negligent drivers for causing the accident or against the authority in that country for failing to ensure that the roads’ condition is safe to drive on depending on the exact cause of the accident. To get more information on how road traffic accident claims work, you may find this guide useful. You can always consult with our advisors for further information about an accident at work abroad.

Accident At Work Compensation Calculator

If you’ve had an injury and have been thinking of claiming compensation for it, it has probably crossed your mind to wonder how much the injury is worth in compensation. That is not really a question that can be answered at this point with any degree of accuracy. This is because compensation is calculated based on the claimant’s needs in question and the degree to which they have been harmed by their injuries.

Naturally, this means that a person claiming compensation for life-changing injuries will be entitled to receive more than someone who suffered only minor injuries. This also means that without consulting your solicitor about the details of the incident and confirmed with them the extent and prognosis of your injuries using a medical report, it can’t be said how much compensation you might have a right to.

We may be able to give you a vague idea, however, by showing you this claim calculator. Although it is not a substitute for a calculation made by a professional personal injury solicitor, it does display the UK Judicial College Guidelines for measuring the degree of compensation awarded for different types and circumstances of injuries to claims pursued under UK law. Claims made in different countries may have different amounts. If you see an injury resembling your own among the examples, it includes you could see for yourself the region in which your compensation would be worth.

InjuryNotesCompensation
Minor injury (a)A minor injury which is fully healed within seven days.A few hundred pounds to £650
Minor injury (b)A minor injury which heals within 28 days£650 to £1,290
Minor injury (c)A minor injury which heals within three months.£1,290 to £2,300
Amputation of both feetThis is treated as equivalent to the amputation of both legs below the knee.£158,970 to £189,110
Amputation of one footThis is treated as equivalent to the amputation of the leg below the knee.£78,800 to £102,890
Amputation of one leg below kneeIn which the leg is removed below the knee joint. Exact amount will depend on degree of issues such as phantom pains, psychological issues linked to the amputation and the degree of success of prothesthetics. £91,950 to £124,800
Amputation of both legs below kneeRemoval of both legs below the knee, Exact amount will depend on degree of issues such as phantom pains, psychological issues linked to the amputation and the degree of success of prothesthetics.£189,110 to £253,480
Amputation of great toe.Removal of the big toe on either foot.In the region of £29,380

Special Damages You Could Claim For A Work Accident Abroad

This information is only concerned with claims for an accident at work abroad made under UK law. If you are claiming a different country, this information may differ. Compensation is worked out on a case by case basis based on several different factors, including the injury itself. The amount relating to the direct effects of the injury are known as general damages. The other part, referred to as special damages, cover the financial impact of the injury. These special damages include:

  • Loss of earnings from being unable to work
  • Travel expenses to receive medical care
  • Care expenses relating to the injury

The compensation for these damages will be worked out by tallying the total cost of these expenses, so make sure you keep hold of all the receipts involved to make a record of your expenses.

No Win No Fee Claims For An Accident When Working Abroad

Accident Claims UK handles all of our claims on a no win no fee basis. No win no fee claims mean that you won’t have to pay legal fees for a claim that fails. The only way a solicitor in a no win no fee claim can receive their fees is by winning the case. If they do, they will be allowed to receive a certain amount of your compensation as their payment. This amount will be pre-arranged between the two of you before you start the claim. If there’s anything that confuses you about the idea of making a no win no fee claim, then you can seek out the advice of our team.

Let Us Handle Your Claim For An Accident At Work Abroad

We hope that this guide has helped you decide if you can claim and in which country your claim will be pursued. If you wish to do so right away or if you still have worries, then please call 0800 073 8801 to speak to our team, and they can offer you a free consultation. You can call right now if you want, regardless of what time it is since our phone line is open at all hours. If now isn’t a convenient time for you, then you can arrange a call back at a time of your choosing by putting your details in this sign-up sheet. Feel free to drop an email to office@accidentclaims.co.uk as another way of getting in touch.

Essential References

Compensation claim against your employer

Sacked while off work due to stress after an accident

Claiming compensation after falling down stairs at work

Government advice on working abroad

Figures on UK Citizens working in EU countries

Government advice on living abroad

Accident At Work Abroad FAQs

What should I do if I suffer an accident at work abroad?

Firstly, make sure that the log book has a note of the accident. Also ensure that you have photographs and witness statements to support your side of the situation. From there, it’s about receiving the medication that you need to recover. And after that, you could speak to a personal injury lawyer about possibly making a claim.

But what happens if my accident at work abroad isn’t reported in the company log book?

This is a legal requirement that all employers must abide by. Therefore, a failure on their behalf to do so could result in them suffering a heavy fine. It could even lead to a sentence for some personnel directly involved in the situation if the injuries are particularly serious.

Do I receive full pay if I suffer an accident at work abroad?

There isn’t a law which states that an employer has to pay a member of staff in full if they suffer a workplace accident. However, in most cases, the employee does receive statutory sick pay (SSP) during their recuperation. The level of SSP may vary between businesses and depending on the severity of the injury.

Could I lose my job because I was hurt from an accident at work abroad?

Employers aren’t allowed to sack any staff due to them being hurt from an accident. It is possible, though, that an employee may suffer injuries which could preclude them from performing their duties in the future. But they couldn’t be directly fired due to the workplace accident.

Article by JY

Edited by Mel.

Thank you for reading our guide about an accident at work abroad.