Accidents in the Workplace
Employers must ensure a duty of care to their employees by providing a safe working environment and preventing harm. They must adhere to the Irish and European Health & Safety regulations. If you have experienced an accident at work and it was no fault of your own, you may have a valid claim for compensation.
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Some common Workplace Injury Claims
The duties of employers towards their employees in relation to accidents in the workplace have been extended by legislation and are contained in The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and also The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007. Section 8 of the Act provides that the employer has a duty to ensure the employees’ safety, health and welfare at work (as far as is reasonably practicable).
A Work-place injury is any injury that can be suffered by an employee in any location or environment if it occurs during the employee’s work duties. It can be physical, psychological and can be caused also from repetitive strain and stress. Work-place injuries can also be referred to as work-place accidents or occupational accidents.
Our team at Coleman Legal have vast experience in representing our clients pursuing work-place injury claims.
1) Building-Site Accident Claims
2) Warehouse Accident Claims
3) Agency Worker Injury Claims
4) Retail Staff Injury Claims
5) Industrial Accident Claims
6) Electricians Injured at Work
7) Roofer Injury
8) Waiter & Waitress Accident
9) Farm Accident Claims
What to do after an Accident at Work?
Seek Medical Attention
After a workplace accident, it is important to assess whether you may have sustained any injuries and if you require medical assistance. If you or anyone has sustained a serious injury, then contact an ambulance to arrive at the scene for medical assistance.
If you have sustained a minor injury, it is important to remember that the injury could have long-lasting negative effects in the future. It is therefore advisable for you to visit your GP or local A&E for medical assessment to be on the safe side.
Report the Accident
Report the occurrence of the accident to a supervisor or manager in the workplace as soon as you can do so. It is a legal requirement on an employer to report the work accident if the employee is injured and cannot perform their daily work tasks for more than three days. If the injury is minor, it is still advisable to report to your manager/superior as a seemingly minor injury can sometimes result in a lasting injury in the future.
You can also fill out an Accident Report Form which can be used in reference to any medical examination.
Document the Incident
It is important to collect and store any information regarding the accident and injuries sustained such as:
-How the accident happened
-Details of witnesses
– Make a request to your manager for CCTV footage available
-Take pictures of where the accident occurred and what caused the accident
-Retain all documents of doctor visits
Seek Legal Advice with an Experienced Solicitor
It is advisable for you to speak to an experienced Work-place injury Solicitor to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If you decide that you wish to pursue the claim, you must submit your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. Your Solicitor can help you with that process.
Please ensure you keep all your documents and copies of any expenses that incurred as a result of your accident, such as medical reports, medical charges such as Hospital fees and/or GP fees, Pharmacy fees, and any loss of earnings you may have suffered due to the injury. You will need such documents to make a claim and to ensure a smoother process in the claim.
Accidents at work when working from home
What are your rights when working from home?
How do I make a claim against my employer for a work injury or accident at work ?
Many employees feel reluctant to make a compensation claim against their employer as they may feel that they will be subject to victimisation or their employment will be terminated. However, your employer has a duty of care to all employees to ensure that your workplace and any machinery or equipment that you use during your employment are safe, and that you have had adequate training. Therefore, if you have had an accident at work which was not your fault and you have sustained injury and/or pain and suffering, you are entitled to compensation. This applies if your injury or accident was caused by one of your co-workers during work.
Prepare Information for your Solicitor
When you decide that you would like to pursue a Personal Injury claim for your work-place accident, you can gather the information below for your Solicitor:
- On what date did the accident occur?
- Where did the accident occur?
- Details of who/what caused the accident
- Specifics of what happened
- Did you report the accident to anyone? If so, who did you report the accident to?
- Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
- Are there any witnesses that may have seen the accident? If there were witnesses to the accident, ask them to prepare a witness statement for you as soon as possible after the accident
- Details of your injuries
- Details of hospital or GP attended
- Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries.
Solicitor obtains a Medical Report
Once your Solicitor meets with you in the initial consultation, he/she will ask for your hospital or doctor’s details so he/she can obtain a report on your injuries. Your medical report is one of the most important documents in your work-place accident case.
If you are required to visit the doctor several times, your solicitor may obtain more than one medical report as your case progresses.
Solicitor submits the Injuries Board application
After gathering all the relevant documents of the work-place accident account and medical reports, your Solicitor will then submit your work-place accident claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment.
Once the Personal Injuries Board assess your claim, your Solicitor will let you know the financial Assessment sum awarded to you. You will then have the choice to accept or reject the Injuries Board assessment. Your Solicitor will advise you in relation to the Award amount.
If both you and your employer accept the Injuries Board assessment
Then your case is completed, and the Award payment will be paid to you shortly thereafter.
If either you or your employer reject the Injuries Board assessment
Then the Injuries Board will issue an authorisation which will enable your Solicitor to issue formal legal Court Proceedings.
It is important to note that most cases do not make it to a Courtroom. Settlement meetings can be arranged to negotiate potential settlement of your claim. Most cases are settled at some point during the Proceedings stage thus avoiding going to Court Trial.
Your Solicitor will advise you throughout the entire process, ensuring your best interests are met, and that you get the best settlement or Court Award possible that is fair in the entirety of the circumstances.
Employer Liability / Employer Responsibility
Employers responsibilities to workers have evolved over the years in the civil courts, and the employer’s duty of care to each of his employees can be reduced to five headings.
Put simply, the employer must provide:
1) Safe systems of work,
2) A safe place of work,
3) Plant and machinery that is safe to use,
4) Competent supervision and/or suitable training and,
5) Care in the selection of fellow employees.
All claims involving accidents in the workplace (employer liability cases) must be submitted to Injuriesboard.ie before starting legal proceedings.
Employers must ensure the minimum health and safety standards in order to prevent (as much as possible) their employees being injured due to an accident at work.
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, employers have a duty to ensure their employees safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable.
In order to prevent workplace injuries and ill health you are required, among other things, to:
- Provide and maintain a safe workplace, machinery and equipment
- Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
- Prevent any improper conduct or behavior likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk (“horseplay” and bullying at work come within these categories)
- Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety
- Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees (at no cost to employees)
- Appoint a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Compensation for Injuries at Work?
There are four main components to an injury compensation settlement.
- Compensation for General pain and damages calculated using the Book of Quantum (a publication which lists a variety of injuries and assigns them a financial value depending on the severity of the injury)
- Compensation for the non-financial changes you had to make in your life as a result of the injury – e.g unable to complete domestic tasks, unable to participate in leisure pursuits or enjoy social events that would be a part of your normal routine, loss of amenity – such as being unable to care for your young children or elderly, or if you’re depressed due to incapacitation.
- Compensation for any emotional trauma that you may have been diagnosed with due to the nature of the accident, how the accident had occurred, or development while you were in recovery. This is known as psychological injuries. It typically takes time to manifest and the consequences can be debilitating.
- Compensation of special damages to recover any expenses you may have incurred, or may incur in the future as a result of your injury – such as loss of income, medical fees therapy costs,, pharmacy costs, using other forms of transport due to being unable to drive, and even restructuring your home if your accident has left you confined to a wheelchair.
These are generally the main examples of compensation under the four main component to an injury compensation settlement. It is advisable to speak to a solicitor to determine which type of expenses can be recovered and it is highly recommended to keep all receipts for anything you spend on (such as medical fees, pharmacy costs, transport costs etc.) during the recovery of your injury at work. Having the receipts will smoothen the process of your solicitor negotiating the best and fairest possible settlement for you in all the circumstances.
Liability for Injuries at Work
After establishing that a physical or psychological injury has been sustained at or from work, then the liability of the injury must be determined. Liability refers to the state of being responsible for something. Injuries at work do not always have to be a result of direct or indirect action from the employer. It can also be sustained through an unsafe working environment which would be a breach of duty by the employer under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
For a personal injury claim to be successful, the injury sustained must result from the negligence of someone who had a duty of care to the injured party.
A breach of the act includes not providing or maintaining a safe workplace, machinery and equipment, inadequate prevention of risks that could cause harm to the employee’s health such as exposure to physical agents, loud noises, vibration and unsafe use of any article or substance, not preventing any improper conduct or behaviour that could cause harm to employees such as bullying and sexual harassment, inadequate training and instruction for employees to do their job safely and failure to provide personal protective equipment to the employee, amongst many.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 strictly provides the guidelines in protecting employees. In all of the cases above, there is a lack of reasonably practicable care for the employee’s health, safety and welfare from the employer’s end. If the negligent employer fails to take necessary precautions to prevent employees from possible injury, the liability hence falls on the employer.
In the case where the employee themselves have partially contributed to the risk of their injury, then it is known as Contributory Negligence and the liability will also fall on the employee.
Claims Advice for Injuries at Work
If you decide to pursue a workplace injury claim, it is important to note that no two work compensation claims are likely to be the same, even when the injury sustained is identical. This is because of other factors such as your employment status, direct approaches from insurance companies and sometimes, even your profession.
Therefore, it is advisable for you to speak to an experienced solicitor and seek legal advice regarding workplace injuries as soon as possible, after receiving the medical attention and treatment you need from sustaining your injury. Most solicitors will offer a free initial evaluation of your personal situation and advise you whether you have potential legal action and whether you qualify for a successful workplace injury compensation.
After you decide that you would like to pursue a workplace injury claims with a solicitor acting on your behalf, your solicitor will advise you on the procedures you should take to support your claims, typically act on your behalf to gather relevant documents and witnesses to ensure you get the best and fairest settlement for your workplace injury while you recover.
What is Employers Liability Insurance?
Employers Liability Insurance provides cover in case an employee is injured or killed at work or develops an illness associated from their job. For instance, if an employee is injured in your warehouse and your business is found to be negligent, Employers Liability would protect your business. The standard level of cover is €13 million, again this figure can be increased if required.
The definition of an employee within insurance typically covers any individual that is hired under a contract or apprenticeship scheme once this work falls within the business description.
Is my Employer Covered with Insurance ?
An employer is legally required to provide yo with a safe place of work and a safe system of work. Historically agency workers were treated in an entirely different manner to those workers who were hired directly into the workforce. Whilst the employment agency is the employer, the company is also respomsoble for breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
Your right to being protected under Health and Safety Regulations are the responsibility of both the company company where you are doing the temporary work and the agency.
Contributory Negligence and Claims for Injuries at Work
Sometimes, there can be disagreement between the employer and employee in regards to who is responsible for the accident that caused the injury (when there is doubt as to who is responsible). In this case, the court may decide or the parties may ultimately agree that both the employer and employee are liable for the employee’s injury and hence the principle of contributory negligence will apply.
Contributory negligence is the legal principle where the injured party (employee) may have possibly contributed to their own injury by acting in a negligent manner, whether through conducting work when there are obvious and known risks, improper behaviour that will endanger themselves or others, failure to report any defects in equipment or place of work that may be a danger to health and safety to themselves or others, working under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failure to seek the appropriate medical attention within a reasonable time frame, which can exacerbate the severity of the injury.
If you have concerns regarding whether you qualify for compensation for a work injury, or whether you may have contributed to either the cause of the accident or the severity of the injury, it is advisable to speak to a solicitor.
How we can help ?
If you have experienced an accident in the workplace and you have questions surrounding the incident, please contact our Work-place Accident at Coleman Legal to find out if you have a potential legal action against your employer.
Our dedicated team has collective experience of over 100 years in workplace accidents and we are ready to advise and assist you with your claim. If you have experienced an accident in the workplace and you have questions about it, please fill-out this ‘Free Case Evaluation Form’ and one of our experience Solicitor at Coleman Legal will contact you.
(Workplace Injury Team)
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
Free Phone: (1800) 844 104