Compensation for Injuries at Work
Compensation for Injuries at Work: An Introduction
Compensation for injuries at work is often an uncomfortable subject for both the employee and the employer, particularly if the employee wishes to remain working for the employer and does not want their working relationship to be negatively affected. The services of an expert solicitor with experience in dealing with claims for injuries sustained at work should be obtained to make sure compensation claims for injuries at work are dealt with in a way that lowers the threat of conflict. It must be established, however, that your employer’s lack of care was the cause of the injury you sustained before you begin to pursue a claim for injuries at work.
Establishing an Injury has been Sustained at Work
The first question that must be asked before any compensation claim for injuries at work can go ahead is “has my injury actually been sustained in the workplace?” To be eligible for compensation for injuries at work – physical or emotional – the injury must have been sustained in the workplace during the course of the plaintiff’s employment.
A near miss – except when it can be proven that severe emotional trauma was caused as a result – is not an adequate reason to qualify for a compensation claim for injuries at work. Therefore, according to civil law, a potential plaintiff can only receive compensation for a work injury, loss or damage if he or she has sustained an injury in the workplace when the employer has acted negligently.
It is of utmost importance, therefore, that expert medical attention is immediately obtained at the nearest hospital’s Accident and Emergency department or with your GP. It will be extremely difficult to make a successful compensation claim for injuries at work if you do not have a medical examination carried out by a medical practitioner and an entry recorded in your medical history.
If you delay seeking medical attention, perhaps by tending to your own injury at home, your employer’s insurance company – who would be responsible for paying your compensation settlement should your claim be successful – could accuse you of contributory negligence. That is, that you added to the severity of your work injury by your own lack of care. In this case, the value of your compensation for injuries at work settlement could be significantly reduced.
Claims for Injuries at Work – Who is Responsible?
Work injuries do not always stem from the direct action – or inaction – of an employer. However, the employer will almost always be held liable for work injuries sustained from the employer’s neglect to provide a safe working environment for staff – through lack of action or training or any other form of negligence – or in a situation where it was obvious that the employer did not administer the adequate safety measures required to protect employees from potential injury.
In order for a compensation claim for injuries at work to be successful, the negligence or breach of responsibility of someone who had duty of care to the potential plaintiff, must be the cause of the injury. In the majority of situations, employers owe a duty of care to their employees, although the responsibility that the law has given to employers as regards their duty of care towards employees, is very strict and though there are cases where an employee’s work injury may have been sustained through their own fault, a large quantity of compensation for work injury claims can be made against the employer where it is possible to determine that they have not provided a safe work environment or correct training to their employees.
Compensation for a Workplace Injury and Contributory Negligence
The principle of contributory negligence will apply in situations where it is decided by the court – or the respective parties may agree –that the employer and the employee were both partially to blame for the workplace injury.
Contributory negligence means that the injured party, i.e. the employee, may have exacerbated the severity of their workplace injury by behaving in a negligent manner when in a situation with noticeable and acknowledged risks, or if he or she declined to seek adequate medical attention as soon as was realistically possible after the accident occurred.
It is advisable to speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity if you have reservations about whether you are eligible to make a compensation claim for injuries at work, or if you are in doubt over who exactly is responsible for the cause of the injury or its severity.
Making a Compensation Claim for Injuries at Work
While it is always to your benefit to engage the services of a solicitor, it is possible to pursue claims for injuries at work through the Injuries Board Ireland. That said, in order to assess your claim, the Injuries Board must secure consent from your employer, arrange a medical examination and complete their assessment; and, in the meantime, your solicitor could already be in advanced stages of direct negotiations with your employer’s insurance company.
If you go ahead with an independent claim to the Injuries Board Ireland without the assistance of a solicitor – and this should only be done if you are confident about expressing every detail of your compensation claim for injuries at work that you may qualify for – it is possible that the Injuries Board’s assessment could be far less than you anticipated and less than what you need to pay for medical costs or support your family. If this happens, a good deal of time will be wasted as you will be forced to engage a solicitor to pursue your claim through the courts in order to sufficiently resolve your claim.
Even if you are assisted by a solicitor from the get go, they will advise you to apply for an Injuries Board assessment – despite often already being in direct negotiations with the negligent party’s insurance company – but only after they have reviewed your application to make sure that your claim is assessed for the highest possible value. If your compensation for injuries at work claim cannot be resolved through negotiations, it will take significantly less time to obtain the “Authorisation” from the Injuries Board that will allow you to pursue your compensation claim for an injury sustained at work through the courts, by having already submitted your application for assessment.
Amount of Compensation for Work Injuries
Many factors determine the value for your compensation claim for injuries at work. Not only do you potentially qualify for compensation for any physical pain you have suffered due to an accident at work or for an affliction which has developed over a period of time – related to your work environment – you may also be eligible for any emotional trauma you have experienced because of the nature of your injury and the affect it has on your quality of life.
If the injury you sustained from an accident at work prevents you from performing everyday tasks, enjoying an active social life or partaking in leisure activities or hobbies, you may qualify for additional compensation known as “loss of amenity”. This can be a substantial element in a compensation for injuries at work claim, especially if you have young children or elderly parents who rely on you for their care, or if you suffer from depression as a result of your incapacitation.
You may also qualify for a reimbursement of any quantifiable financial expenses of a workplace injury – not only your loss of income – but also costs for medical treatment, using alternative modes of transport if you can no longer drive and even for the re-structuring of your house if your workplace accident has rendered you a wheelchair user. It is recommended that you keep receipts for anything that you spend while in convalescence and that you speak with a solicitor to determine what costs can be reimbursed.
Claims for Injuries at Work: Advice
Every compensation claim for workplace injuries is unique – even when the injuries sustained are the same. As you have seen from above, many factors contribute to the value of your compensation settlement and further factors that could be included are your employment status – and sometimes your profession – and direct approaches by insurance companies.
You would, therefore, be well advised to seek legal advice for a compensation for workplace injuries claim from an experienced solicitor at the first possible moment following an accident and the treatment of your injuries. Most solicitors will offer a free initial consultation of the circumstances surrounding your case and they will advise you on whether or not your compensation claim is viable and worth pursuing.
If it is, your solicitor will recommend the procedures you should take to support your claim for workplace injury compensation and make sure that you receive the highest possible amount of compensation you qualify for. They will also avoid damaging a working relationship with your employer – something which would be equally important for many plaintiffs.
Injuries at Work Claims: A Summary
- If you do not want to damage a working relationship with your employer, claiming compensation for injuries at work can be a delicate issue.
- The risk of any unpleasant conflict in the workplace could be reduced if you engage the assistance of an expert solicitor.
- A solicitor will be able to make sure that liability for your workplace injury is established and will aid you with your application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland.
- A solicitor will also be in a position to attempt to resolve your compensation for injuries sustained at work claim quickly through direct negotiations with your employer’s insurance company.
- Compensation claims for injuries at work do not have to stem from a specific event – some injuries can develop over a period of time. You would be well advised to speak with a solicitor at the first practical moment if you have just been diagnosed with any kind of injury related to your work.
No two claims for injuries at work are ever identical. If you have sustained a workplace injury and feel that you may have a potential compensation for injuries at work claim, it would certainly be in your best interested to discuss the points raised in this article with an expert solicitor as soon as practically possible.