Making a personal injury claim against a family member

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Often the running of a farm is very much a family affair, a business that can stay in the family for generations.

However, farming is recognised as one of the most dangerous industries to work in as according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), agriculture accounts for one in five workplace fatalities. If someone is injured working on a family run farm it can be incredibly stressful and sensitive to bring a legal claim against a loved one. There is often a fine line between ensuring the injured person receives adequate compensation and maintaining family relationships.

As in any workplace, employers on farms must take care to ensure work is carried out in a safe manner and that equipment is properly maintained and in good working order. If an employer fails to do this then the consequences could be tragic. Most injuries can be avoided if an employer carries out regular risk assessments to identify any risks arising from work related tasks and introduces methods to remove or reduce that risk.

As a farm worker you are entitled to work in an environment where the risk to your health and safety is minimised which reduces the risk of you sustaining an injury at work. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is with your employer. Unfortunately, accidents at work do occur. If you have had an accident at work, then you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against your employer. However, this can understandably be fraught with difficulty if your employer is an immediate family member.

Charlotte DowsonCharlotte Dowson
Charlotte Dowson

According to UK law, every business employing staff to work in the UK needs to have employers’ liability insurance. There is, however, one clear exception: if your employees are part of your immediate family and the business is not an incorporated, limited company. While you may not be legally required to have employers’ liability insurance when you employ family members it is still a good idea to have it. If anything happens whilst a family member is on the job they could make a claim against the insurance policy and receive compensation for their injuries. This avoids the potentially difficult situation where they either have to claim directly against a family member or receive no compensation at all.

If you have been injured on a farm and are successful in making a personal injury claim you will receive compensation relating to any past or future financial losses and expenses incurred or likely to be incurred. You will also receive an award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity to compensate you for the physical and/or psychiatric injuries you have sustained. This can be really important in helping you get back on your feet as soon as possible and if that isn’t possible to provide care and treatment for the rest of your life.

Charlotte Dowson, Associate in the Personal Injury Claims Team at Bolt Burdon Kemp