Why make a complaint?
Being injured in an accident that was someone else's fault can be upsetting and frustrating. You may feel like you're causing a fuss or being confrontational, but that isn't the case.
There are a few outcomes that can happen because of your complaint, which include:
- Helping the organisation recognise that they need to improve their safety standards so others are not injured in the same way
- Understanding more about the circumstances that led to your accident
- Getting an apology from the organisation about your accident
While getting an apology doesn't take back your accident, it can help you get the closure you need to be able to move on after an injury. Raising an issue can also help you understand why the accident happened in the first place - this can be useful if you decide to start a compensation claim.
Can you make a complaint and a claim?
If you do choose to complain about your accident, you may be concerned that this will affect your ability to make a compensation claim. Thankfully that's not true. In fact, in some cases making a complaint can even help your compensation claim.
It's likely your grievance and the circumstances that led to your injury will be investigated by the person or organisation responsible. This often means you'll find out more about the safety problems which caused your injury.
If you're thinking of complaining, it's best to do so as soon as you can, as organisations and their independent governing bodies have different time limits.
And if you do decide to go ahead with a compensation claim, you have three years to do it.
Making a complaint at work
If you've suffered from an injury at work or have noticed a hazard, it's important to raise it so that your employer is aware of the problem and can improve the safety of your workplace.
Many people worry that they'll be treated differently if they choose to highlight workplace issues, or that the process will be too time consuming, but there are laws that protect you from being treated differently.
Most work places should also have a ‘grievance procedure' in place that sets out the way in which you can approach these issues and how they should be processed by your employer. Typically, these fall into two categories:
- Verbal complaints - As a first step, it can be a good idea to speak to your manager or employer in person. In some cases, they might be able to solve the problem without it needing to be taken any further
- Letter of grievance - If you feel uncomfortable speaking to your employer personally, or if no action has been taken after meeting with them, you can write them a formal letter of grievance
You might also decide to make a compensation claim if your injury at work happened because of your employer's negligence. For example, they may have failed to protect you from the obvious hazards of your job by not supplying the correct equipment or training, or they may have ignored your complaints about an unsafe practice or tool.
If you're thinking of claiming and would like to know whether you could make a case, we can help. In one free call to us on , you could have a better understanding of your legal position around claiming and be connected to a specialist solicitor for a free consultation.
Kevin contacted us after his accident at work
"I had 7 weeks when I didn't have a wage at all. It put pressure on us financially, that's for sure"
Making a complaint against the NHS
The NHS provides a fantastic service, but sometimes things do go wrong, leaving you and your loved ones to deal with the consequences.
When you visit a medical professional, the last thing you expect is to receive incorrect treatment or substandard care.
Registering a complaint against the NHS provider makes them aware of the problem and can help them to make improvements. It can also provide you with an opportunity to feel heard and acknowledged following a traumatic experience.
Complaining to the NHS is time-sensitive - their guidelines suggest that you should contact them within 12 months of the incident. And as the NHS is a national service, there are a few different organisations you can get in contact with - you can find more information below:
- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) - a confidential advice line where you can discuss the care you've received from your NHS trust
- NHS England - NHS England is responsible for all NHS services, when making a complaint through this route you should seek out your local commissioner
- Care Quality Commission - the CQC are independent regulators of health and social care services, which means they are primarily responsible for care homes and services
Registering a grievance against a local council
Your local council is often responsible for maintaining roads, buildings and public areas so that they're safe for use. Sometimes they fail in this duty to you, which can result in you becoming injured.
Making a complaint to your council is often very straightforward, but we recommend that you check gov.uk to find the right person or organisation.