Accident at Work*

Broken Handrail Accident Claims*

Broken handrail injury claims* arise when a person is injured where a handrail is missing or broken and exposes the person to an accident and injury.

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Common Handrail Accidents

Common cases of handrail accidents are; handrail on a stairs that is designed to provide a grip is either broken or missing and a fall accident occurs, or cases where a guardrail, that is in place to provide a barrier between a person and an unsafe area, is broken or missing leading to an accident and injury.

Handrails are put in place as a safety feature to reduce the risk of accidents and injury. Broken handrails are a common cause of accidents with the main type being slips, trips and falls. These accidents can happen anyway and may lead to injuries. In many cases what could have been a minor accident is made worse as a result of a broken, defective or faulty handrail.

Lack of maintenance is a common issue that can lead to accidents. The persons responsible for the maintenance of handrails in public use may be held liable in cases where negligence in relation to maintenance have led to an accident. Without ongoing maintenance railings may become loose over time and detach from their fitting.

Who is Responsible?

It may be difficult to determine who is responsible for the broken handrail. This can vary depending on the setting and environment they are in. In general it is the property owners who are at fault if an accident occurs on their premises. If they are aware of the hazard but have not displayed a warning sign then it is very clear that they were responsible for the injuries sustained.

  • If the handrail is broken on the premises of a shop or restaurant then the owner is responsible for ensuring that any risks are eliminated. This is known as occupier’s liability.
  • In a rented building, the landlord may be responsible. Any faults or hazards noticed by tenants should be reported to the landlord as soon as possible.
  • In a work environment, the employer has a duty of care to ensure that they are providing a safe environment for their employees. They must follow the guidelines set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at work act 2005. This Act outlines the various duties of an employer when it comes to the safety of staff. Employees also have a responsibility to report any hazards noticed by them.

Common Injuries

Common injuries resulting from a broken handrail accident include:

Causes

Whether it’s a missing or broken handrail there may be a number of different elements at play that led to your accident. These accidents can happen in all locations whether it be at work or in a public place. Some of the most common causes of claims for/injuries sustained from broken or missing handrails are:

  • Missing or broken handrails of stairwells.
  • Missing or broken handrails on steep walkways.
  • Handrails not installed at the correct height, rendering it not fit for purpose.
  • Poor maintenance of handrails in public areas.
  • Failure to repair a broken handrail.
  • Failure to install a handrail where one is needed.
  • Handrail became loose and broken whilst in use.

What to do after an accident at work*?

Following an accident at work*, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after an accident at work*, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries and seek the relevant medical attention. If you have sustained a serious injury ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.

    For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.

  2. Report the accident

    It is critical to report the accident to your superior, i.e. a supervisor or manager on site. It doesn’t matter how small you think the accident may be. By law, accidents at work* are required to be reported if the person is injured and can’t perform their daily work tasks for more than three days. Make sure to fill out an Accident Report Form. This can be used in reference to any medical examination and will also prevent any similar accidents that could happen in the future.

  3. Identify any witnesses

    If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed the accident. This may be of use if you do decide to pursue a workplace accident claim*. It is also useful to find out if there is any CCTV in the area where the accident happened.

  4. Document the incident

    It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:

    •  How the accident happened
    •  Details of any witnesses
    •  If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident
    • Take pictures of where the accident happened and what caused the accident
  5. Speak to a workplace accident solicitor*

    If you are considering moving forward with a workplace accident claim* for any personal injuries sustained it is advisable that you speak with a workplace accident claims solicitor* as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A workplace accident solicitor* can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist workplace accident* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your workplace accident claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the workplace accident claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important document in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or Hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your workplace accident claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and your employer accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or your employer reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your workplace accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a workplace accident claim* you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a workplace accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the workplace accident*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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