As an Employee, you are entitled to expect that your Employer will provide you with a safe work environment. Our solicitors have helped hundreds of people get the compensation that they deserve following workplace accidents.
Have you had an accident at work? If so, it’s possible that your employer or another worker has been negligent or has not met the standards required by Health and Safety laws and you may be able to claim against their employers’ liability insurance.
Many workplaces are dangerous to a certain extent, which is why there are now strict health and safety rules to govern everything from how needles are disposed of in hospitals to who is allowed to build scaffolding on construction sites.
Unfortunately, safe working practices aren’t always followed and safety equipment isn’t always up to scratch.
In these cases, accidents can and do happen, often leaving workers with serious injuries or illnesses that can lead to loss of earnings, and sometimes even loss of life. That’s when you need to talk to a legal firm with the experience to help you seek the injury at work compensation you deserve.
There is no legal definition of an accident, reflecting the fact that accidents can happen in many different ways, for example:
The defining feature of a workplace accident is that it will normally be the result of an employer either doing something, or failing to do something, that should have been avoided, causing someone to be injured as a result.
The main piece of legislation that outlines how the law expects employers to treat their employees is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. It imposes a duty on employers to cater for employees safety, health and welfare at work so far as is reasonably practicable. It goes on to state that in order to protect employees from injury or ill health at work, employers must take certain steps. These include:
It is very important to note that your employer’s responsibility to protect you from harm at work is wide-ranging. If you develop an illness as a result of your activities at work, and had not been adequately shielded from such a risk, your employer may have breached their obligations towards you. Furthermore, if your employer becomes aware that you are vulnerable at a certain point in time, and does not take extra measures to address your increased risk of injury, they may also have failed in their obligations.
As an employee, you owe a duty to your employer to take reasonable care for your own safety, and to follow the necessary procedures that your employer has put in place. Under the 2005 Act, you must, amongst other things:
If an employee suffers an injury at work because their employer failed to observe their responsibilities for employee safety, they may decide to take legal action. The steps involved depend on whether or not the employer disputes their liability for the employees injury.
In the first instance, the employee must apply to Injuries Board, an independent statutory body that will assess the claim for compensation. Where the employer agrees that it was legally responsible for the accident, the Board will issue an order for the employer to make payment of financial compensation.
If, however, the employer disputes responsibility for the injury, or either the employee or employer disagree with the Board’s award for compensation, the Board will release the matter and you can bring court proceedings.
If the matter is to be referred to the courts, it is important to be aware of the following:
There will only be proof that an employer was negligent towards employees where there is evidence that:
The court will determine the appropriate financial compensation.
If a court is satisfied that the employer has been negligent, it will consider the sum that the employee seeks in financial compensation. It is for the court however to determine how much the final award should be. Furthermore, any evidence that the employee contributed to their own injury, i.e. not following the correct procedures or exposing themselves to real danger, may result in a reduction in the award they ultimately receive.
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