Accidents in the Workplace Claim
Have you had an accident at work? It’s possible that your employer or another worker has been negligent, and you may be entitled to a claim.
Accidents in the workplace
Seeking compensation for workplace injuries
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their employees and maintain a secure working environment per Irish and European Health & Safety regulations. Unfortunately, safe working practices are not always followed, resulting in serious accidents and leaving workers with catastrophic injuries or illnesses that can result in loss of income or even life.
If you have sustained injuries due to an accident at work, you may be eligible for compensation if your employer is deemed negligent or responsible. This compensation can cover direct damages, such as harm to yourself, and indirect consequences, including emotional distress following losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.
If you find yourself in such a situation, it is crucial to seek legal advice. Our team of experienced workplace injury team is dedicated to assisting individuals like you. Feel free to contact us by calling our helpline at (Free Phone) 1800 844 104 or complete our online enquiry form.
Liability for accidents at work
1. Understanding liability in workplace injury cases
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.
2. Establishing negligence for a successful claim
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.
3. Employer safety law violations
A breach of the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 can encompass various failures by the employer, such as:
- Inadequate provision or maintenance of a safe workplace, machinery, and equipment.
- Insufficient prevention of risks could harm the employee’s health, including exposure to physical agents, loud noises, vibration, and unsafe use of articles or substances.
- Failure to prevent improper conduct or behavior that could harm employees, such as bullying and sexual harassment.
- Inadequate training and instruction for employees to perform their jobs safely.
- Failure to provide necessary personal protective equipment to employees.
4. Employer negligence & liability
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.
5. Contributory negligence & shared liability
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.
Understanding the complexities of liability in workplace injury cases is crucial. If you have been injured at work and need legal guidance, our experienced solicitors are here to assist you in determining liability and pursuing appropriate compensation. Contact us today for a consultation.
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.
The principle of contributory negligence
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. This can include:
- Engaging in work despite obvious and known risks.
- Behaving improperly, endangering themselves or others.
- Failing to report equipment or workplace defects that pose a risk to health and safety.
- Working under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Failure to seek appropriate medical attention within a reasonable timeframe, potentially worsening the severity of the injury.
Legal advice on compensation and negligence
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.
Common workplace injuries
- Muscles strain and tears
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Back and shoulder injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Chemical burns
- Smoke or fume inhalation
Common accident in the workplace claims
Our team of experienced accidents in the workplace solicitors at Coleman Legal LLP continuously educates themselves on all aspects of workplace injury claims.
Factory accident claim
- Asbestosis Claim
- Mesothelioma Claim
- Warehouse Accident Claim
- Industrial Accident Claim
- Crush Injury Claim
- Over Exposure Claim
- Defective Equipment Claim
- Loss of Limb Claim
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Construction accident claim
- Building Site Accident Claim
- Machinery Handling Accidents Claim
- Defective Machinery Accidents Claim
- Moving Vehicle Accidents Claim
- Welding and Chemical Burns Claim
- Electrical Injury at Work Claim
- Slip and Fall Injury
Other accidents in the workplace claim
Serious injury claim
- Head & Brain Injury
- Back & Spinal Injury
- Nerve Damage
- Eye Injury
- Neurological Damage
- Fatal Accidents
- Lower Body Injuries
- Loss of Vision
What to do if an accident occurs in the workplace?
1. Contact our solicitor
Our workplace injury solicitors are experts in advising clients on how to make these claims. Many people use a solicitor to aid with this application process as a lot of paperwork and filing are required, and our expert team is on hand to make the process as smooth as possible.
2. The PIAB application
The next step is to make an application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). If your personal injury claim concerns anything other than medical negligence, some assaults, and some cases of entirely psychological injury, then your claim can be brought through PIAB. Examples of claims that PIAB covers include:
3. Submitting information and documents to PIAB
Your solicitor will obtain evidence, medical reports, and other expert reports required. And submits these documents to the Board for Assessment.
4. Consent to assess the claim
Once the application is made, PIAB issue a formal notification of claim to the defendant(s). The defendant(s) must indicate within 90 days whether or not they consent or not to the assessment of the claim. If the defendant consents, then PIAB will proceed to assess the claim. If they decline to have the case assessed, the PIAB will issue an Authorisation to allow the claimant to issue court proceedings.
5. Claim assessment time
If PIAB is assessing the claim, this will usually take about 9 months. They will then issue their Assessment of your claim, this amount reflects general and special damages awarded in respect of your claim. If the Assessment is accepted by both parties, the PIAB will issue an Order to Pay. The Order to Pay has the same status as an Order of the Court, and must be discharged by the defendant(s) within 10 days. A settlement cheque will then be issued to the claimant.
If the Assessment is rejected by either party, an Authorisation will be granted by PIAB to bring court proceedings.
How much compensation you receive for an accident in the workplace is dictated by two legally binding documents known as:
The “Book of Quantum” and
The recently published Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council of Ireland.
The Book of Quantum dictates how much compensation you are owed if your Authorisation was received from PIAB prior to the 21st of April 2021. In all other cases, compensation in respect of general damages is assessed with the aid of the Judicial council’s Personal Injuries Guidelines.
The Book of Quantum sets out general guidelines as to the amounts that may be awarded or assessed in Personal Injury Claims. The guidelines are divided into sections depending on what category of injury was suffered, e.g., head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and spinal fractures, upper limb injuries, lower limb injuries, and body and internal organs. The Book of Quantum sets out 4 steps to assess what compensation is appropriate for the suffered injury. These steps are as follows:
- Identify the category of injury
- Assess the severity of the injury (through medical reports and records)
- Research the value range
- Consider the effect of multiple injuries
The Personal Injuries Guidelines were adopted by The Judicial Council on the 6th of March 2021. Similar to the Book of Quantum, this legal document sets out guidelines for assessing compensation in respect of general damages. The general principles for this assessment centre on three criteria:
- Awards of damages must be fair and reasonable to both the claimant and the defendant(s)
- Awards must be proportionate to the injuries sustained
- Awards must be compared on a scale of injuries that are both of a lesser and greater magnitude
One of the most substantial differences brought about by this update is that the average level of damages awarded has been reduced. The new guidelines have, however, provided more detail and more explanation for claimants, which is overall a welcomed change to the process of making a personal injury claim.
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:
- Safe systems of work,
- A safe place of work,
- Plant and machinery that is safe to use,
- Competent supervision and/or suitable training and,
- Care in the selection of fellow employees.
All claims involving accidents in the workplace (employer liability cases) must be submitted to Personal Injuries Assessment Board before starting legal proceedings.
Employers must ensure the minimum health and safety standards in order to prevent (as much as possible) their employees from 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 employee’s 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
There are four main components to an injury compensation settlement.
1. Compensation for general pain and damages
Compensation for general damages is calculated using the recently published Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council of Ireland. (a publication that lists a variety of injuries and assigns them a financial value depending on the severity of the injury)
2. Compensation for the non-financial changes
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.
3. Compensation for any emotional trauma
Compensation for any emoitional 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. These are known as psychological injuries. It typically takes time to manifest and the consequences can be debilitating.
4. Compensation for special damages
Compensation for 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 components of 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 circumstances.
1. Understanding the uniqueness of workplace injury claims
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.
2. Seeking timely legal advice
If you have experienced an accident in the workplace, it is crucial to consult an experienced solicitor and obtain legal advice promptly after receiving necessary medical attention and treatment. You have two years from the date of the accident within which to issue proceedings.
Most solicitors will offer a free initial evaluation of your situation and advise you whether you have potential legal action and whether you qualify for a successful workplace injury compensation.
3. Guidance on pursuing a claim
Once you have made the decision to pursue a workplace injury claim with the assistance of a solicitor, they will provide valuable guidance on the necessary procedures to support your claim. They will act on your behalf, gathering relevant documents and witness testimonies, ensuring you receive the best and fairest settlement while you focus on your recovery.
Statute of Limitations
You have two years from the date of the accident within which to issue proceedings. If you are under 18, a separate set of rules apply, and we would recommend you contact our solicitors to discuss these. Learn more about the statute of limitation.
If you have experienced injury or an accident in the workplace and have questions surrounding the incident, please contact our workplace injury solicitors at Coleman Legal to find out if you have a potential legal action against your employer. Our dedicated team has a collective experience of over 30 years, and we are ready to advise and assist you with your claim.
If you want to take legal action over an injury, you should consult our accidents in the workplace solicitors, who are members of the Law Society’s injury accreditation scheme.
Coleman Legal LLP
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
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Is my employer covered with insurance?
An employer is legally required to provide you 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 responsible 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 where you are doing the temporary work and the agency.
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.