If you are reading this, you may have been personally injured* in an accident and are now questioning what your legal options are.
If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, which means you may have a right to seek a legal remedy for this wrong.
Tort law is there to protect people from harm and injury and attach legal responsibility to anyone who causes the harm.
Employers have a legal duty of care for their employees safety and wellbeing in the workplace. If reasonable care is not afforded to an employee injured in the course of duty, then may be eligible to file a accident at work claim*.
Accident at Work Employer Responsibilities
Employers have common law duty of care obligations and statutory obligations to employees in terms of safety measures in the workplace.
The general duties of employers under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2005 Act are:
- Ensure the safety, health and welfare for employees at work as far as is practicable.
- Manage and conduct work activities in a way that ensures the health, safety and welfare of workers.
- Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour that is likely to endanger the safety, health and welfare of employees.
- Design, provide and upkeep a safe workplace and equipment.
- Provide protection against exposure to harmful articles, substances, noise, vibrations, ionising, radiations and other physical agents.
- Provide planned, organised, tested, maintained and revised work systems.
- Offer and maintain facilities and arrangements at work for employee welfare.
- Provide information, instruct, train and supervise employees.
- Determine and implement safety, health and welfare strategies.
- Have regard to the overall principles of prevention in cases where risk can’t be removed or sufficiently controlled and offer suitable protective gear and equipment.
- Prepare and revise appropriate measures to be enforced in case of an emergency situation.
- Report accidents.
- Obtain the services of a qualified person for the purpose of ensuring employee safety, health and welfare.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do after an accident at work ?
After you attend to the medical care, report the accident to the employer.
While you are considering your options, it is very helpful if you write out the details of the facts to keep in case you are thinking of taking a case.
Facts and evidence get lost and it is to the detriment of many people who subsequently decide to take cases when it doesn’t need to be an issue.
How much do I get paid if injured at work ?
Is there provision for this in a clause in the Employment Contract ? or is there a custom and practice with the particular employer to do so ? needs to be assessed to answer this.
How do I claim for an accident at work ?
An initial step for any injured party who wishes to initiate a personal injury* claim is to make an application to the Board after sending the letter of claim to the party allegedly responsible for the accident. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a statutory body that carries out its own private, independent assessment of a persons personal injury* claim. It will not assess claims regarding the provision of any medical or surgical procedure in relation to a person, or the provision of any medical advice or treatment to a person.
A purely paper-based system, it never carries out oral hearings but assesses claims with regard to medical evidence, such as the medical report furnished by the injured party to the Board.
If the person who caused the injury consents to the Injuries Board assessing the application, or if they fail to state in writing whether they consent to the assessment or not, the Injuries Board will proceed to carry out the assessment.
If the person who causes the accident states in writing that they do not consent to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the Injuries Board will issue whats termed an authorisation, which permits the applicant (injured party) to bring legal proceedings.
Can I claim for an accident at work that was my fault ?
If you are the cause of your own injury and no negligence arises then, in our opinion, it is imprudent to commence such an action.
What happens if an accident at work is not reported ?
If an employee does not report an accident to an employer, and subsequently decides to take a case, this can be problematic for the employee when the question is asked as to why it was not reported.
How do you record accidents at work ?
Employers should have Accident Report Forms which can be completed and the employer should be notified also with any means possible.
What accidents should be reported to HSE ?
The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Regulations 2016 require reporting of accidents and record keeping in certain circumstances such as:
- Where an employee dies as a result of an accident at their place of work or in the course of carrying out their work in a location other than their normal place of work;
- an employee, as a result of an accident at their place of work or in the course of carrying out their work in a location other than their normal place of work, is prevented from performing their normal work for more than 3 consecutive days, excluding the day of the accident but including any days which would not have been working days;
- an employee dies within one year as a result of an accident at their place of work or in the course of carrying out their work in a location other than their normal place of work;
- any person who is not at work but who as a result of an accident related to a place of work or a work activity dies, within one year of the accident;
- any person who is not at work but who as a result of an accident related to a place of work or a work activity suffers any injury or condition which, due to the nature or severity of the injury or condition, results in the person being taken from the location of the accident to receive treatment in respect of that injury in a hospital or medical facility, or
- there is a dangerous occurrence.
Can a job (employer) fire you for getting injured ?
The Unfair Dismissals Acts govern this area of the law and if you are injured and operating under a disability, an employer who terminates the employment of an injured employee, may contravene the Equality Acts in addition to possibly contravening the Unfair Dismissals legislation.
What are the accident reporting procedures ?
Different employers may have different reporting procedures as some places of employment evidently operate under a higher risk of accidents occuring than others.
How long does an accident at work claim* take ?
There is no one singular answer that can be given which works for everybody.
It depends on the individual case for many reasons, but we will give a general guide here.
Accident* at work claims must be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. On average, claims made to PIAB are assessed within 9 months from the date the Board notifies the party who the claim is taken against.
If the case is dealt with and concluded at this point to the satisfaction of the parties, the entire timeframe could be 9 months to one year. If the matter is not dealt with by the Injuries Board, the injured party may have the option of proceeding to court to seek a Judgement from the court.
Some factors that may affect how long a case takes include:
- Once an application has been made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, it usually takes between 9 months to 1 year before it is concluded.
- If one of the parties does not agree to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the matter can proceed to court.
- If an assessment sum is not agreed to by one party, the matter can proceed to court.
- How long will the court case process take depends on various factors, such as, is the case straightforward for complex ?.
- Is there one injury or multiple injuries ?.
- What is the attitude of the defendant to the case ?.
- Has liability been admitted or is it contested ?.
- Has the injury stabilised ?.
- Has the treatment concluded ?. Has the injured parties doctors recommended further treatment ?. Detail of the further treatment is then required.
- What number of experts reports are required ?.
- Is it easy or difficult to obtain expert reports ?.
- Is it easy or difficult to obtain medical records ?.
- Have the legal pleadings concluded. In the High Court the defence must be provided to the injured parties solicitor within 8 weeks from the time the summons is served. This is not a long time, and in personal injury* cases one must proceed step by step in conjunction with the guidance of the doctor(s) assisting the injured party. Medical care can take time, recovery can take time, and guidance from the doctor and the patients thoughts on their own rehabilitation are important considerations in terms of assessing controlling the speed of a case.
Accident at Work Claim* Form
An application to the Injuries Board can be made by completing and submitting Form A with the application fee €45 or €90 and a medical report. The Injuries Board accept applications either online or via post.
The medical report will be completed by your doctor and will include information regarding accident details, injuries sustained, medical history, complaints, clinical findings and prognosis.
When you receive the medical report you should go through its content and make sure everything is accurate and your happy with it.
Accident at Work Claim* Time Limit ?
There is a limit regarding how long an injured person has to initiate a legal action. This limit is pursuant to the statute of limitations act and if surpassed, it can cause your claim to be whats termed as statute barred from court. One has two years from the date of the accident to initiate the legal action.
Accident at Work Procedure ?
This is answered above.
Disclaimer for Accident at Work Information
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.
Personal Injuries * In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.