Work is a fundamental part of many of our lives and can be where we spend the majority of our waking hours. It can be the place where you socialise, make friends, even find partners, but unfortunately it can also be somewhere accidents occur. Depending on the type of work you do, the risks can be significant and a workplace injury could have serious long-term consequences.
In this article we’ll take a deep dive into the world of workplace accidents, looking at everything from the most common types of work injuries to your employer’s duty of care and your rights. We’ll cover sick pay entitlements, reporting procedures and we’ll show you how the team here at McGinley Solicitors LLP can help.
Types of workplace accidents
Workplace injuries cover one of the broadest ranges of accidents named in personal injury claims as there are so many different types of job and workplace environments. It would be impossible for us to cover every single workplace injury here, but this list should give you an idea of some of the types of accidents that could be eligible for compensation:
- Slips, trips and falls are among the most common workplace accidents, often caused by wet or uneven floors, inadequate lighting or improperly maintained walkways.
- Manual handling injuries that occur when employees lift, carry, or move heavy objects without proper training or equipment.
- Employees working at heights, such as on scaffolding or ladders, can suffer severe injuries if they fall due to a lack of safety measures or faulty equipment.
- Injuries in workplaces that use heavy equipment, including farm accidents, caused by malfunctioning machinery, lack of safety guards or inadequate training.
- Electricians who sustain injuries from electrical shocks if safety measures are not followed.
- Employees in kitchens, chemical plants, or labs who suffer burns or scalds due to contact with hot surfaces, liquids or chemicals.
- Repetitive strain injuries resulting from repetitive motions and overuse of specific muscle groups are common among office workers or those using computers for extended periods.
- Employees working with hazardous chemicals or materials can experience long-term health issues due to exposure.
- Employees who drive as part of their work can be involved in accidents on the road.
- In some workplaces, employees may face threats, verbal abuse, or physical violence from colleagues or customers.
What causes accidents at work?
It wouldn’t be fair to say that all workplace injuries are caused by simple negligence or lack of care on behalf of your employer – there are all kinds of factors at play within a business that can cause things to get missed and accidents to happen. Regardless of what’s going on with a business, employee safety should always be paramount.
So what exactly causes accidents at work? Inadequate safety measures are a big one or, more specifically, failure to implement them. Many businesses set up protocol, but fewer follow them strictly. Malfunctioning or poorly maintained machinery, tools and equipment is another one.
In terms of staffing, inadequate staff levels are a big cause of accidents – not only does it mean that there simply aren’t enough staff to do things properly, but the staff that are there will be overworked and tired and more prone to make mistakes. A lack of training for staff can also play a part – not just initial training and investment but also ongoing training and development.
Employer’s duty of care and your rights
In Ireland, employers have a legal duty of care towards their employees. This duty includes all aspects of health and safety and if they fail to provide these things and you have an accident as a result, you could be entitled to compensation. So where is the accident at work employer responsibility crossover and what can you expect as an employee?
As an employee, you have the right to:
- A safe working environment with safety protocols in place
- Proper training and equipment
- Report workplace hazards and accidents
- Seek medical attention and time off if injured
- Pursue compensation for workplace injuries
What to do after an accident at work?
Having an accident at work can be hugely stressful and in the moment it can be hard to know what to do for the best. Many people find it hard to make an accident at work compensation claim because they didn’t take the right steps after their accident, so here’s a quick reminder of what you should be doing.
Firstly, seek medical attention, even if you’re not yet sure of the extent of your injuries. Not only is this important for you and your well-being, but it’s important to have a record of your injuries. Next, report the accident to your employer or manager. This is a legal requirement and you’ll find it very difficult to make a claim if you didn’t report the accident at the time.
Gather as much evidence at the time as you can, taking photos and noting dates and times. If there were any witnesses to the workplace accident, record their details so that they can provide statements.
Get in touch with the team at McGinleys Solicitors as soon as possible so that we can start processing your claim.
How do you report an accident at work?
Different workplaces may have their own policies for reporting injuries, but the basics are simple – contact your manager in the first instance and make sure they are aware of exactly what has happened. They will help you to complete an accident report form. Include as much detail in this as possible and make sure it’s accurate before you sign it. Keep a copy for your own records and to support your claim later on.
Compensation and sick pay entitlements
In Ireland, someone proven to have suffered an accident at work is entitled to compensation and sick pay. These entitlements are provided under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
If your workplace injury means that you can’t go back to work immediately, you may be entitled to sick pay or illness benefits during your recovery, depending on things like how long you’ve been in your job.
What is the claims process and are there any deadlines?
So you’ve had an accident at work, got medical attention, filled out all the work paperwork and you’ve decided you want to make an accident at work compensation claim – what happens next?
- Get in touch with the team here. We can assess your case and guide you through the process.
- We’ll help you complete an application to the PIAB. This application initiates the assessment process.
- The PIAB will assess your claim and decide on a compensation amount.
- We take this figure and negotiate with the other party to reach a settlement. If we can’t reach an agreement, the case may need to go to court.
The deadlines for personal injury claims vary. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings.
Why choose McGinley Solicitors LLP?
We are experts in work injury claims and will always do our very best to get you the compensation that you’re entitled to. Our team strikes the balance between bringing a high level of professionalism and expertise with our personalised approach, meaning we listen to exactly what you need and tailor our approach accordingly.
Give us a call today or drop us an email and we can chat to you about how we work and how we can help you with your work injury claim.
What types of accidents qualify for a personal injury claim at work?
Accidents that qualify for a personal injury claim at work can cover a whole range of things, such as slips, trips and falls; machinery or equipment-related accidents; exposure to harmful substances; vehicle accidents during work-related tasks and many more depending on the type of work you do. The key factor is that the accident occurred due to negligence by your employer.
How soon after my accident should I file a claim?
We recommend getting in touch with us as soon as possible to get the ball rolling. In Ireland, accident at work claims generally have a two-year statute of limitations. This means you have two years from the date of the incident to initiate legal proceedings.
Are emotional or psychological injuries covered?
Yes, absolutely. You can include emotional or psychological injuries in your personal injury claim, provided they are a direct result of the accident and can be attributed to the negligence or misconduct of another party. You will need evidence to back up your distress.
Who pays the compensation in a successful injury claim?
A good employer will have insurance in place to cover accidents at work so if you do end up making a claim, the compensation will likely be paid by the insurance company rather than coming directly out of your employer’s pocket.
What is the average compensation for a workplace injury?
It’s hard to give accidents at work compensation examples as claims can be so different. Your compensation will take into account things like the severity of your injuries, the long-term impact and any other costs such as medical expenses or loss of earnings. Get in touch and we can chat through your case and give you a better idea of what you might be able to claim.
Can I be fired for filing a personal injury claim against my employer?
This is something that worries a lot of people who have been injured at work but employment law in Ireland protects your right to seek compensation for workplace injuries. It would be illegal for your employer to fire you for filing a personal injury claim and it could lead to a wrongful dismissal claim.
Are repetitive stress injuries covered under personal injury claims?
Yes, they can be, but only if your repetitive stress injury is a direct result of your work activities and can be attributed to negligence of some kind. These types of injuries include things like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
Can I claim for an injury caused by a co-worker?
Yes, you can file a personal injury claim for an injury caused by a co-worker, especially if the injury occurred due to their negligence or misconduct. A lot of people imagine that this would be a claim against the co-worker personally, but the claim is usually made against your employer’s liability insurance. This is known as a ‘vicarious liability’ claim.
How long does a typical personal injury claim process take?
Timeframes are difficult to predict as it depends not just on how quickly we can gather the evidence and process your claim, but on the speed of all the other parties involved. It also depends on whether the other party is happy to settle or whether the case ends up going to court – you could be looking at months or potentially years for more complex cases.
What documentation will I need to support my claim?
The best advice we can give is to keep everything. Take photos at the scene, take details of all witnesses, note dates and times, keep copies of any correspondence relating to the accident and make sure you get medical attention at the time so that your injury is on record. Once you’ve opened your claim with us we can help you gather exactly the evidence you need.