Support Hub > Stress Claims > How to file a stress claim at work
How to file a stress claim at work
The first step in commencing a formal work-related stress claim is to prepare and submit a letter of claim to your employer. The letter of claim will summarise the events that have occurred during the course of your employment which have caused you to become unwell.
The letter will also set out the formal allegations of negligence or ‘breaches of duty.’ Every employer has a statutory duty to ensure they provide a safe system and safe place of work and if they fail to do so and you become unwell this is considered a breach of their duty.
The letter we prepare is checked by you to ensure it is accurate and it is then submitted to your employer by special delivery. Your employer will likely then forward the letter to their employers liability insurer and or legal representatives.
They are required to formally acknowledge the claim within 21 days. The timeframe for formal response to our letter of claim is up to 90 days from the date of acknowledgement.
Pre-Action Protocol and timescales
Be aware that before any claim is submitted the parties will have to engage and comply with one of the pre-action protocols which govern the early stages of personal injury claims. The defendant employer will typically get up to 4 months to investigate a claim following receipt of the letter of claim. It is not a quick process.
Letter of response.
The defendant employer has a duty to investigate your claim and then either admit the claim or deny it. In the event of a denial, it must disclose documents in support of that denial. This is a key stage in any claim as it is often the first time your solicitor will understand which issues are contested.
Before you are able to issue court proceedings you will need to obtain a medical report which is complaint with Part 35 of the civil procedure rules which supports your injuries having been caused by the defendant employer’s breaches of duty.
Conference with a barrister.
If your case goes to trial you will need a barrister to represent you. It is our preferred practice to involve a barrister before proceedings are issued to assist in finalising how the claim will be presented and to draft the statements of case you are required to file in support of your claim, namely the particulars of claim and schedule of loss.
David Miers and Maria Gough were instructed by our client to pursue a harassment claim against her former employer.
Our client worked as a Team Leader at a school. In 2018 a new Principal was appointed. Within a few months of the new Principal starting he began to behave inappropriately towards our client.
For example he would made comments about her body and appearance, ask for details of her sex life and indicate graphically that he found our client sexually attractive. All of this was done in a school context with students in the next room. Our client found this behaviour to be distressing and intimidating and despite asking him to stop his lewd comments he continued to harass our client unabated.
By 2020 our client was unable to cope with the impact of the Principal’s daily harassment of her. She was signed off sick by her GP and later resigned from her role.
Our client subsequently submitted a grievance about the treatment she experienced. The internal findings upheld that she had been harassed by the Principal.
Our client subsequently obtained new employment but the corresponding salary was significantly below what she had previously been earning.
How Setfords helped
Setfords were instructed in April 2020 for pursue a claim for harassment and consequential losses. Our client’s evidence was considered and the merits of her claim were clear from the outset. A letter of claim was then submitted to her former employer.
Our client’s claim was considered by the insurer for the School. The claim was denied and it was not accepted that our client had been harassed, despite the internal findings.
Setfords remained committed to the merits of our client’s claim and accordingly medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist. The report was supportive and stated that our client had suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of the harassment by the School Principal. Despite liability being denied Setfords were able to secure the client a settlement of £40,000 without her having to go to Court.
David Miers was instructed by a former teacher to pursue a claim for occupational stress as a result of being overworked. Our client was an experienced teacher who was faced with excessive demands from the Senior Leadership Team which resulted in him having to work above and beyond his contractual hours without adequate support.
Our client had an initial absence from work in 2015 as a result of his unmanageable workload. However upon his return to work no changes were made.
In 2017/2018 our client’s school was subject to intervention from the Local Education Authority and the demands of the intervention team added pressure on top of our client’s existing workload.
In 2019 our client spoke with the Headteacher to advise that he was struggling with the pressure and workload. He expressly advised that as a result of which he was worried for his physical and mental health. Despite this, no action was taken by the Headteacher to support our client.
Our client went off sick in the 2018and subsequently was not well enough to return to his role. His employment was terminated the following year and he has now retrained.
How Setfords helped
Setfords were instructed in November 2019 for pursue a claim for occupational stress and consequential losses. Our client’s evidence was considered and the merits of his claim were clear from the outset. A letter of claim was then submitted to his former employer.
The employer’s letter of response denied liability for our client’s breakdown and stated that our client was not suited for the demands of teaching, accordingly no fault could rest with the employer.
Setfords remained committed to the merits of our client’s claim and accordingly medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist and Court proceedings then issued. The Defendant’s defence continued in the same vein as the letter of response but ultimately the Defendant agreed to settle the claim for a six figure sum.
This is what he had to say about Setfords:
“I would like to thank the team at Setfords for all of their hard work and support whilst dealing with my claim. We have just reached a successful outcome which we could never have achieved without them. Particular thanks to David Miers, who has been thorough, clear, honest and professional throughout the entire process. I would recommend this company without a moment’s hesitation. Sincere thanks to all involved.”