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If you or a family member have been involved in a meat factory accident, it is imperative that you talk to a solicitor if you wish to pursue a claim.Tell Us About Your Case
Being involved in a meat factory accident, regardless of how serious the workplace accident was, can be a traumatic experience – whether you have sustained any injuries or not. In cases where you are involved in an accident in a meat processing environment that was not your fault, there may be a legal remedy. This legal remedy, you can seek by way of a meat factory accident claim.
Meat factory accidents are relatively common in Ireland given the nature of the activities that are associated with the role. In many cases, injuries can be attributed to the fast-paced environment and manual work carried out within a meat processing factory.
In 2018, the meat industry processed:
According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Ireland is the fifth largest net exporter of beef in the world, with a meat export value of €3.9 billion annually.
Meat factory accident claims occur, in many cases, as a result of an employer neglecting to provide a safe working environment. It is up to your employer to carry out routine risk assessments to determine if there are any potential hazards and to ensure that the employees are provided with a safe working environment. Employers should also ensure that they provide the correct training and safety equipment that may be necessary to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring in these processing plants.
From December 2019 to November 2020, the Tánaiste confirmed that 176 workplace accidents occurred in meat processing plants, which also included one fatality. This figure compares to the 225 meat factory accidents recorded in 2019, and the 234 reported in 2018. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), people employed in the meat & poultry sector sustain serious injuries in the course of their work at twice the rate of employees in private industries.
As meat factories are extremely fast-paced work environments, employees often find themselves having to work as quickly as possible to meet the targets their employer has set for them. Subsequently, the employee is more inclined to take risks to try and keep up with the excessive workload. These risks are commonly witnessed by management, although, are often not stopped as it may hinder the company from reaching their productivity targets.
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MCRI) was set up in 2001 to address workplace issues and protect employees in the agri-food industry. The meat processing industry has a high percentage of foreign nationals employed in this sector whose first language may not be English. Subsequently, these employees may experience some language barriers, both during their training period and on an ongoing daily basis as they carry out their duties. As all health and safety precautions may not have been fully understood, the risk of an accident occurring increases.
There is also an onus on all meat factory workers to follow the workplace health and safety guidelines to ensure that you don’t have an accident at work – any reckless behaviour in work may be detrimental to your claim.
To view an in-depth guide regarding employers reporting requirements, see the Guidance on the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 2016.
The most common meat factory accident claims are:
If you were involved in a meat factory accident, there are a number of steps you should follow:
Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after your accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries. Then check if anybody else was involved in the accident need medical attention. If you or anyone else involved has 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 more serious injuries in the future. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry and is advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.
It is critical to report the accident to your superior, i.e. a supervisor or manager in the factory. 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 for reference in any medical examination and will also prevent any similar accidents from happening in the future.
If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed your accident. This may be of use if you do decide to pursue a claim. It is also useful to find out if there is any CCTV in the area where your accident happened.
It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:
If you are considering moving forward with a meat factory accident claim for any personal injuries sustained, it is advisable that you speak with a solicitor as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. A 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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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 factory accident solicitor to help you with this.
When you decide you want to move forward with your meat factory 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:
Solicitors are aware of the meat factory accident claims process and can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this process yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.
One of the most important documents in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so they can obtain a report on your injuries.
As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your claim will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. Your 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 your employer 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.
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 on your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.
At Tracey Solicitors LLP, 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 meat factory accident claim, phone 01 649 9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your case, where you can speak with a member of our team straight away.
We aim to provide clear and independent legal advice and achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
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If you are to proceed with a meat factory 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 are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following an accident in a meat processing factory.
Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident, for example, loss of earnings (if you are unable to 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.
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
Employers have a duty to ensure safety standards are met in the workplace. These in theory should help to minimise the amount of meat factory accidents.
The duties of an employer include:
A breach of these duties by the employer can lead to accidents. If an employee has sustained an injury and it is found that it was caused by employer negligence, then the employer is likely to be found liable.
Being involved in a meat factory accident, as an employee can be a traumatic experience, especially if you have suffered any personal injuries. The most common injury claims that can occur because of a meat factory accident are:Learn more about Injury Claims
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