Which court do I go to?

If you have been injured, you can bring a private claim for compensation against your employer.

Most personal injury claims are decided in the civil courts – either the County Court if it is worth up to £50,000, or in the High Court if it is substantially above £50,000.

However, employment tribunals can give compensation for personal injury in some limited cases, for example claims for discrimination or harassment under the Equality Act 2010. In this kind of case, the claim would normally be for psychiatric injury resulting from an act of discrimination or harassment. 

Personal injury claims that are likely to lead to damages for pain and suffering of less than £1,000 (i.e. claims where your compensation for the injury alone, as distinct from your money losses such as lost wages, is likely to be less than £1,000) go to the small claims court. Legal costs cannot be recovered from the other side in the small claims court, meaning that these claimants rarely have legal representation. By contrast, insurers nearly always pay to be legally represented.

Your legal adviser will advise you which Court is appropriate for your claim.

Note that the time limits in a claim before an employment tribunal are much shorter than time limits for a personal injury claim in the County Court or High Court.

A claim for discrimination in an employment tribunal must be brought within three months of the discriminatory act, so you must take advice and act quickly. Although the tribunal has the power to extend time, this power is rarely exercised.

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.