What if I injure my back and lose my job?

You may be able to take legal action against your employer. Your employer has a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) to provide you with safe working conditions, as well as a common-law duty of care towards you.

Your legal rights depend on how long you worked for your employer before the date of dismissal, and how serious your back injury is:

  • If you worked for less than two years, you cannot claim unfair dismissal except in certain specific circumstances, such as if you are dismissed for raising health and safety concerns with your employer.
  • If you have worked for more than two years and your employer dismisses you for no good reason, or without following proper procedures, you may have a case. You can find out more in our Work Rights section.
  • You may be able to make a personal injury claim for damages, covering pain and suffering and loss of earnings, if your employer failed to provide safe working conditions, leading to you suffering a reasonably foreseeable injury. See our Personal Injury Claims section for more information.
  • Regardless of how long you worked for your employer, if you suffer serious injury, you may have a claim for Disability Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. This prohibits unlawful discrimination against a disabled person in employment. Your employer may also have had a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' to allow you to continue working, or to return to work with alternative duties. There is more about this in the Work Rights section.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.