Thankfully, the number of accidents at work has decreased in recent years. Workplaces have become safer due to Health and Safety legislation, better training and more supervision.
The downturn in construction has also meant that the number of construction related accidents has reduced.
Unfortunately, one area where there continues to be a high number of fatal accidents is on our farms. Accidents with farm animals and farm machinery continue to occur. Farmers don’t work in the more regulated environment of the factory and tend to work on their own. This makes things more difficult for them.
Compensation for workplace injuries
Where an accident happens in the workplace, the employee is entitled to compensation if the accident happened as a result of someone else’s negligence.* Very often, it will be shown that the employer has been negligent in not providing a safe system of work or the necessary training. For example, we have acted for employees who have damaged their back by heavy lifting where they were not properly trained or were not provided with lifting equipment. We have acted for employees who have been injured by machines because the machines were unsafe or didn’t have a proper guard.
Some workplace accidents involve falls where someone has slipped on material left on the floor and there wasn’t a proper system in place for cleaning up spills.
Sometimes, another employee will be shown to have been at fault. Whether the employer or another employee is at fault, the employer’s insurance company will pay the compensation.
How personal injury claims are made
We will write to an employer on behalf of an injured employee and they will pass the matter over to their insurance company. We will, if necessary, arrange a specialist engineer to attend the workplace to inspect the equipment and the scene of the accident and he will prepare a report. We will get medical reports from our client’s doctor setting out the injuries they suffered.
The claim will first be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, a government body who will propose the amount of compensation that they think is appropriate. Both sides can accept or reject their figure. If it is rejected, the case will be brought to court.
The level of compensation for a workplace accident
An employee will recover compensation for his/her pain and suffering to date and into the future. He will also receive compensation for any financial loss or loss of earnings. If his ability to work in the future is affected, a specialised accountant (an actuary) will calculate what his loss of earnings into the future will be.
In the case where an employee is killed, his family will be entitled to a fixed level of compensation for their bereavement (just over €25,000.00) but will also be able to claim for the financial loss to the family caused by his death. An actuary will calculate how much should be paid now to make up for this financial loss into the future.
An employee cannot be discriminated against by his employer because he has made a claim. The vast majority of employers accept that this is a normal part of business (this is why they have insurance) and that the employee is entitled to be compensated.