If an employee has an accident at work, is injured, and the incident arose due to negligence, the employee will have a legal right to seek a remedy and commence a workplace injury claim*.
What often happens in cases of this nature, is an employer is of the opinion no negligence arose and the employee was the creator of his/her own misfortune, while the employee believes that the employer had, for example, no or inadequate safety measures in place, an obvious hazard existed, a dangerous work practice was in place, and negligence arose.
This employee then is out of work due to the injury with no income, and in the vast majority of employment contracts, there is no provision for sick pay or illness payment.
Employers have legal obligations arising from legislation and a common law duty of care to ensure steps are taken regarding employees safety from harm in the workplace, and employees also have duties to take reasonable care to look after their own safety.
What Happens If You Have an Injury at Work?
This employee should notify the employer of the accident, and keep the information particulars of what occurred. Employers should have Accident Report Forms which can be completed.
Employers have various obligations in terms of reporting accidents to the Health and Safety Authority, for example, for accidents or dangerous occurrences or an incident involving a biological agent.
Health and Safety Authority Inspectors have powers to take actions when statutory contraventions are found, theres a risk of serious personal injury, by taking proceedings to the District Court for breaches of legislation.
Employers should report accidents to the Health and Safety Authority when an employee has been out of work for three days due to injury arising from a workplace accident.
If you have been injured at work, which was not your fault, after you have attended to the initial medical care needs, you should, in our opinion, make a written record of the factual detail, organise paperwork in terms of your expenses to date, and if you are considering taking a case, attend with a solicitor experienced in the area for a case opinion so you will understand your legal options.
Evidently the employers reaction to such an event is a very important consideration and will their insurance cover be activated, for example.
It is important, in our opinion, for employees to consider not only the present but the future ie what are all of the medical care needs ? is there an immediate answer or longer-term action plan needed ? what is the cost ? how is the injury affecting and going to affect their life ? and what steps need to be implemented to get into a better situation.
Such an employee should engage with their doctor to fully understand the care needs and the plan of action.
Can I Take a Case Against My Employer ?
Employers have legal duties to not injure or harm employees, have many health and safety obligations to their employees, and if these are contravened and the result is an injury to the employee, then an employee has a right to legal recourse against the employer for failing to fulfill their duty of care to the employee.
To answer this, it is best, in our opinion to consult with a solicitor with experience of these type of cases so the facts can be examined, and the law applied efficiently, which will enable you make a fully informed decision then about what you wish to do.
Obviously it is simply a choice for you to decide if you think it’s of benefit to have a solicitor, or if you prefer to deal with it yourself.
How Do I Know If My Injury Is Work-Related ?
We have been asked this and the answer is not as obvious as it may seem.
Nowadays remote working not in the traditional office has become more commonplace, and this issue ie what are employers obligations for employees who are working from home is going to become a more substantial issue, and the facts can be discussed with your solicitor to obtain an opinion.
Can I Get Full Pay After a Work-Related Injury ?
To assess if an employee can obtain sick pay or illness payment when such an event occurs, one needs to review their Employment Contract.
If there is no provision in an Employment Contract for salary payment when such an event occurs, then employers are unlikely to be obligated to pay an employee’s salary unless there is a custom and practice in the workplace to do so.
In the majority of Employment Contracts there are no provisions for payment for this type of leave from work.
How Long Does a Workplace Injury 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.
Workplace injury* 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.
How Do I Make a Workplace Injury Claim* ?
A number of steps need to be taken to ensure a claim is started correctly, and the following are guidance steps to follow.
Claims such as workplace injury* claims are submitted to and dealt with by the Injuries Board. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act established the Personal Injuries Board as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to a court. There is no requirement to give evidence at the Board, your attendance at the Board is not required, and it is not a Court with powers to make determinations on liability and negligence etc.
You will firstly need to write the party responsible for causing the accident stating the nature of the wrong etc. Under S.8 of the Civil Liability Act 2004 this is called a ‘Letter of Claim’.
A person pursuing an action should serve notice in writing to the other person within 1 month of the date of the accident of their intention to pursue this course of action.
If its possible in the circumstances, do obtain the details of the other driver if the accident is a road traffic accident, and photographs of accident scenes can be very beneficial.
A person should not leave the scene of a road traffic accident, and should await the Gardai who will then take the particulars of each driver.
After you have had the necessary medical care and are feeling a bit better, it will be necessary to complete Form A, which is the application form to the Injuries Board, who make an assessment of your application.
It is very important you have the correct detail specified on the Form inclusive of the correct legal name of the party responsible. This can take a bit of work to investigate this and carry out the various searches. It is imperative that you name the correct legally titled name of the responsible party on the application form.
Once this Form A is completed, it must be sent to the Injuries Board with €90.00 or €45.00 as an application administration fee, depending on whether you submit your application by post or online.
The application must also include the Medical Assessment Form B which is completed by your doctor. It is beneficial to review this properly before sending it to the Injuries Board to ensure it is correct.
How Long Do I Have to Take a Workplace Injury Claim* ?
There are strict limits to adhere to when taking such a case. The Statute of Limitations necessitates workplace injury* claims are commenced within 2 years less one day from the date of the accident.
After submitting your application to the Injuries Board, you should ensure you follow up with them to obtain confirmation of Registration of the claim. Evidently the paperwork you submit and obtain in return needs to be correct, and you should check this.
What Is Illness Benefit ?
You can find an information post about sick pay entitlements here.
You can find much detail about illness benefit here.
Can I Return to Work After an Injury ?
This is a matter for you with guidance from your doctor.
Depending on the advice, it might be necessary to change your working environment and get back into it on light duties for a period of time. You should discuss this with your employer.
Employers have legal obligations under the Equality Law legislation to provide Reasonable Accomodation returning to work for employees who have a disability, which has a wide interpretation.
By not providing this type of employee with Reasonable Accomodation, employers could be exposing themselves to liability in the event of a claim being taken under the Equality legislation.
Should I Work on Light Duties ?
This depends on you as the patient, what guidance or direction you have obtained from your doctor, and the outcome of the consultation with your employer.
Does My Employer Have to Follow Doctor’s Orders ?
Your own doctor, if you have been with them for years, will know you best, and you should obtain your own doctors advice, even though your company may have afforded you a number of doctor appointments as part of the companies custom and practice.
You can discuss your doctors advice then with your employer.
Employers should take note of the persons doctors advice.
How Do You Calculate a Workplace Injury Claim* ?
Damages in legal cases of this nature are divided into two groups, namely general damages and special damages.
Special damages can be loss of income, medical consultations, treatment fees, damage ie loss of car, car hire, medication, vehicle towing, travel, physiotherapy, damage to property, or other expenses incurred relevant to the accident.
General damages are calculated with respect to consideration of the pain and suffering sustained. The nature and duration of the injuries will be examined together with the effect on ones life.
Each personal injury* claim is dealt with on an individual basis, however, the Book of Quantum does provide guidelines regarding a potential range for compensation for a particular injury.
It is necessary to first identify the party of the body that has suffered the injury. There are six categories provided for in the book.
Next the severity of the injury will be assessed, from the minor range to the severe and then permanent.
It is necessary to assess then if there is one injury or multiple injuries.
What is the Personal Injury Assessment Board
The Personal Injury Assessment Board is a statutory body that provides an independent assessment of personal injury* claims and for people who suffer injuries from their workplace, public liability, and motor accidents.
Workplace Injury Claim* Time Limit ?
This is answered above.
Workplace Injury Claim* Procedure ?
This is answered above also.
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.
In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.