Work injury compensation claims are often a sensitive area because the member of staff usually prefers to remain working for the employer despite sustaining an injury and does not want to damage existing working relationships when making a work injury claim for compensation. This can create a need for a solicitor to proceed with a claim for injuries in the work in a way that lessens the chances of damaging confrontations arising. However, before a claim for injuries in the work is initiated, it has to be shown that an injury has been suffered at work due to the lack of due care of your employer.
Showing that a Work Injury has been Suffered
The first issue to be taken into account, when pursuing compensation for an injury suffered in the work is whether a work injury has actually been sustained. The plaintiff (the person making the claim) must have suffered some form of injury — either physical or psychological — during his or her employment to be eligible for work injury compensation.
Even where an employer has behaved negligently — even criminally so — it should be recognised that, with regard to the civil law, a possible plaintiff can only claim work compensation for an injury, loss, or damage that he or she has in fact suffered. A close call — other than where it can be proven to have caused, for example, a severe psychological trauma — is not adequate to justify work injury compensation being awarded.
Consequently it is vital that, whenever a work injury has been suffered, professional medical attention is sought as soon as possible at the Accident and Emergency Department of the nearest hospital or at your doctor. Without a record in your medical history and a medical assessment conducted by your doctor, it will be very difficult to make a successful claim for injuries in the work.
Additionally, should you delay a professional medical examination, initially depending on first aid or administering to your injuries when you return home, it could be alleged by your employer´s insurers — the entity ultimately responsible for paying work injuries compensation — which you added to the severity of your work injury by your own negligence. This may not prevent you from making work injury compensation claims, but it could affect how much compensation for an injury suffered in the work you receive.
Liability for Injuries in the Work
Injuries at work are not necessarily always caused by the direct action — or lack of action — of an employer. The failure to provide and keep a safe working environment for employees — be it through inaction or a lack of training or any other form of negligence — or where it is clear that the employer did not take the safety precautions needed to protect employees from possible injury, will almost definitely lead to the employer being held liable for those injuries.
For a work injury claim for compensation to be successful, the injury suffered must result from the negligence or breach of duty of someone who had a duty of care with regard to the injured party. In the vast majority of situations, employers owe a duty of care to their employees. The responsibility that the law puts on employers in relation ensuring their employees safety is very strict indeed and, although there are times where employees may be injured due to their own negligence, it is reasonable to say that in a large percentage of cases where injuries are sustained in the work, it is possible to prove that an employer has not provided a safe place of work or a safe system of work or sufficient training for their employees, thereby leading to a liability on the part of the employer.
Work Injury Claims and Contributory Negligence
In situations where there has been a disagreement between the employer and the member of staff as to who shall bear the responsibility for the accident – in other words, there is doubt as to who is responsible -a court may decree, or indeed the parties may ultimately concur, that both the employer and the employee were partially to blame for the employee’s injury and in such cases the principle of contributory negligence is applicable.
Contributory negligence refers to legal principle that an injured party, i.e. the employee, may have in some way contributed to his or her own injury by behaving in a negligent manner when faced with the obvious and known risks, or did not seek professional medical attention within a reasonable amount of time which increased the severity of the injury.
If you have any doubts about whether you are eligible for compensation for a work injury, or whether you may have played a part in causing the accident or increasing the severity of your injury, you should talk with an experienced solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.
Taking a Work Injury Claim for Compensation
Although the main overall purpose of this article is to outline the advantages of using a solicitor when taking a work injury claim for compensation, you may also pursue a claim independently through the Injuries Board Ireland. However, while you are waiting for the Injuries Board to seek consent from your employer to assess your claim, arrange a medical with their doctor and finish their assessment, your solicitor could already have progressed in direct negotiations with your employer´s insurance company.
Furthermore, unless you are confident about including every element of your claim that you may be entitled to claim work injury compensation for, it is highly probable that the Injuries Board´s assessment could be far less than you anticipate — or need — to cover medical expenses and support your family if you are not able to work. Should this be the case — and you are forced to use a solicitor to pursue your claim through the courts system — you may have wasted precious time in the resolution of your case.
Solicitors will direct you to submit an application to the Injuries Board, even when a direct approach with an insurance company is being made, but only after they have checked it to ensure your claim is assessed for the highest value possible. Should negotiations not successfully resolve your claim for injuries in the work, due to the fact that you have already submitted your application for assessment, it will take a great deal less time to obtain the “Authorisation” you need from the Injuries Board in order to permit you to pursue your claim through the courts system.
How Much is my Work Injuries Claim Worth?
Work injury compensation claims have to include many different elements. You are not only entitled to compensation for any physical suffering you have experienced due to an accident at work or attributable to a condition which has developed over a duration of time, but also any psychological trauma you have sustained due to the specific nature of your injury and the effect it has on your quality of life.
You are also entitled to additional compensation if your injuries at work prevent you from performing everyday tasks, enjoying an active social life or taking part in leisure pursuits and hobbies. Your “loss of amenity” can be a major factor in an award of compensation for an injury suffered in the work if you have young children or elderly parents who need tending to or if you suffer from depression due to your injuries.
You are also entitled to reclaim any measurable financial costs of a work injury — not just your loss of earnings, but also the expenses of getting medical treatment, using alternative forms of transport if you cannot drive and even alterations to your home if your accident at work has left you restricted to a wheelchair. You should talk with a solicitor to establish what expenses can be recovered and keep receipts for anything you spend while you are in rehabilitation for your injury at work.
Work Injuries Claims Advice
From reading the above you will see that no two work injury compensation claims are likely to be identical — even when the injuries sustained are the same. Other factors which can further affect how much compensation for an injury suffered in the work you can claim include your current employment status, unsolicited approaches by insurance companies and sometimes even your profession.
Therefore, it is in your best interests to seek guidance for work injuries claims from an experienced solicitor as soon as you can after receiving proper treatment for your injuries from a medical professional. The majority of solicitors will offer a free initial assessment of your personal situation and advise you whether you have a claim for compensation for a work injury which is worth your while to pursue.
If so, your solicitor will advise you of the procedures you should take to support a claim for injuries in the work, ensure you receive your maximum entitlement to compensation for an injury suffered in the work and — equally as important for many plaintiffs — avoid damaging a working relationship with your employer.
Summary of Work Injury Claims
- A claim for injuries in the work can be a sensitive issue if you do not want to risk damaging working relationships with your employer
- You can minimise the chance of an unpleasant confrontation when claiming compensation for a work injury with the help of a solicitor
- A solicitor will ensure that liability for your work injury can be proven and help you with your application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland
- He or she will also try to settle your claim as quickly as possible through direct negotiation with your employer´s liability insurance providers
- Claims for work injuries do not have to originate from a specific accident — health issues can develop in the work over a period of time and if you have just been diagnosed with any kind of work-related injury, it is in your best interest to talk to an experienced solicitor as soon as you can
It is important to note that each work injury claim for compensation is different. If you have suffered injuries at work and believe that you have possible claim for injuries in the work, you are advised to talk about all of the relevant points raised in the above article with a qualified solicitor at the earliest opportunity you have.