Law Squirrel

Accidents At Work – And Jurisdiction

In the UK, employers and firms of all sizes are bound by strict laws and regulations concerning employer liability. Much of that liability focusses on the welfare and health and safety of employees and contractors. The law in this case, although onerous, is straightforward.

Employers are legally obliged to have a comprehensive and adequate health and safety policy, to have the relevant employer’s liability insurance policies, and to take all reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees, and that of any any visitors, guests, customers and contractors that are on their premises. Health and safety is a legal obligation imposed upon employers, as is having employer’s liability insurance to deal with the consequences if health and safety is breached, and a workplace accident is the result. Such accidents can be of varying severity, and can result in an y number of injuries, ranging from a few crushed fingers to broken limbs. The result of a workplace accident can require the use of the first aid kit –or a lengthy stay in hospital, and a long course of medical treatment. The side effects can last for a few hours –or many years. In whatever type of workplace accident, resulting in whatever injury, the injured employee has rights and protections, and can even make a civil case for damages and compensation with a personal injury or accident at work claim in the civil courts.

As stated previously, the law in this regard is extremely clear in the UK jurisdiction. However, what about foreign companies? Or subsidiary companies? Or the massive multinationals? It is not that the law is different – but due to the international nature of such businesses, any legal actions can often be more complicated. Matters of liability, employer’s legal obligations, and jurisdiction can take on a life of their own, and overshadow the actual legal issue or matter at hand, which could be a simple accident at work claim. Determining or arguing such matters, or deliberating over how to handle the international aspect of the case can stall and hold up proceedings, either by design or by accident.
In most cases, given that the accident happened in the UK itself, then the matter would he heard in the UK courts, applying the law of England & Wales. However, in some cases, it might be determined and decided on any number of legal reasons for the accident at work injury claim to be heard overseas; however, that would be quite rare. A further complication can arise if the foreign company is registered in an EU member state. Once again, due to EU laws and regulations, in a great many cases, the jurisdiction would be that of the UK.

Although some multinationals and foreign companies might want to attempt to get the employee’s legal action heard in an overseas jurisdiction, applying foreign laws, because the actual happened in the UK itself that might not be possible. It is only in some cases that hearing the case overseas will be possible.
The laws surrounding personal injury and accident at work claims will no doubt be different in a foreign country- sometimes to the benefit of the employer, rather than the injured employee. However, the right to make such personal injury claims against an employer rarely changes throughout the world.


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