If you have suffered an injury at work, you may be wondering about the appropriate steps to take thereafter. Your response to an injury at work can be effective when you are familiar with the basics regarding your responsibilities as well as your employer’s obligations arising from their legal commons law duties and statutory duties.
What to do after an Accident at Work*
After you have received medical attention you should notify your employer, or supervisor etc. that the accident has occurred and if possible complete the detail asked for in the accident report book. The following will sound obvious, however, it can happen that an injured person does not notify a defendant of the accident at the outset, and a defendant then may come to the view that either the incident did not occur, or that they were prevented from retaining necessary evidence as notification did not take place in a timely manner. An example is CCTV footage of the incident not being retained by the party that caused the accident, and they may say that they were unaware that they needed to keep the footage due to the fact the employee did not notify them in sufficient time after the accident of the occurrence of the accident. One should, if possible, also take photographs of the place of the accident and maintain a record of dates/times with the names and contact details of all witnesses present.
An employer has legal common law duties and statutory duties to their employees in respect of their safety, health, and well-being while at the workplace. Section 8 of the 2005 Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act states that an employer must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees.
An employer’s duty can extend to many areas but very briefly an employer should ensure a safe place and safe system of work exists in the workplace for all employees. Safe systems etc. must be implemented and not simply specified as required in a risk assessment.
Can I be dismissed after an accident at work* ?
Although cases of dismissal after an accident at work are uncommon, this obviously can happen should an employer be imprudent enough to terminate an employment contract as a consequence of the accident. You should understand that if you are dismissed for no valid reason or for exercising your right to initiate legal action for an injury sustained, filling a claim for unfair dismissal is the right way to go about the situation. This then can mean your employer faces a civil legal action for the injuries sustained and a separate unfair dismissals action for an unlawful termination of your employment contract.
Accident at Work* – Will I still get paid?
One should firstly review their contract of employment to assess if that provides any contractual provision permitting you to be paid in full while absent from employment for the purpose of an injury or illness. If your employment contract provides that you are entitled to wages while you are off work due to injury or illness, you should call upon your employer to pay you. Sick pay entitlement can be a concern for people whose employment contract lacks provision for injury income payment. An important thing to know that occupational sick payment schemes are not outlined in the Irish law. This is because most employers pay social insurance for working employees to enable the state to provide income to the injured workers, which comes in the form of social welfare payments to sustain them through their injuries. You should be aware an employer cannot claim that any time off work due to injury has eaten into your entitlement to paid holiday leave as section 19 (2) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provides that any day where a person is certified as unfit for work cannot be regarded as a day of annual leave.
Time frame to make a claim
The 2004 Civil Liability and Courts Act provides that the time limit for making claims is two years from the day of the accident. However, individuals who have encountered accidents or sustained work-related injuries are required to notify the party responsible for their injury within eight weeks of the date of the accident.
Personal Injuries * In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
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.