Accident at Work*

Overreaching Work Injury Claims*

An overreaching injury* occurs when you overstretch in order to reach something. This causes the muscles in the back, arms and shoulders to over-extend past their normal range.

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Types of Injuries

This can then lead to various injuries, such as torn muscles, sprains and ligament damage. This can leave you with restricted movement in the arm and shoulder area which may leave you unable to carry out certain tasks. Overreaching is a common injury* associated with the workplace and generally occurs while working on scaffolding and ladders. Often while using a ladder you may be expected to reach to an object instead of repositioning the ladder.

Who is Liable?

When making a personal injuries claim* it is important to determine who is liable for the cause of the accident. In most cases, it is found that the employer is responsible as a result of a breach in duty of care or negligent behaviour. There are certain regulations in place which provide for health and safety in the workplace. The two main sets of regulation in place which provide for this are the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Work at Height Regulations 2006. There are duties set out in these Act which an employer has to ensure that they provide a safe working environment for all employees. In order to determine if your employer is responsible for injuries you have sustained in the workplace it must be shown that they did not show a reasonable duty of care.

Employees also have a responsibility to ensure that they do not act in a negligent manner in order to ensure the health and safety of both themselves and their co-workers. They may be found liable if this then led to an injury being sustained. It is important to note that if the injured party has contributed to the cause of the accident, through contributory negligence, they may not be entitled to make a claim.

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005

This is the main legislation in Ireland which provides for health and safety in the workplace. Outlines in this Act are the duties of both the employer and employee when it comes to providing a safe working environment. Both employers and employees have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not put either themselves or their co-workers at risk of an injury.

Duties of an Employer

  • Provide employees with adequate training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Manage activities in a way which prioritises health and safety
  • Ensure that the working environment is practical for the work that is to be carried out
  • Ensure there are safety measures in place to help prevent accidents

Duties of an Employee

  • Co-operate with their employer in relation to health and safety regulations
  • Do not act in a negligent manner
  • Attend any training provided to them
  • Ensure that they wear the correct protective gear
  • Report any accidents or hazards that they are made aware of to their employer

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Work at Height) Regulations 2006

These regulations set out the procedures which must be followed if you are required to work at a height. It is an employer’s duty to minimise the chance of workplace accidents happening so it is advised that working at a height is avoided unless it is necessary. An employer must;

  • Carry out a risk assessment before work begins
  • Select the correct equipment based on the circumstances of the job
  • Consider the risks associated with the work to be carried out
  • Ensure employees are provided with the correct equipment and tools
  • Ensure employees have the correct protective equipment required for the job
  • Outline procedures which must be followed if something goes wrong

Common Injuries

Common injuries sustained from a overreaching accident include:

  • Torn Muscles
  • Ligament Damage
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Dislocation
  • Reduced Mobility
  • Breaks and Fractures

Causes

Lack of Training

All employees should be provided with the correct training needed in order to undertake their job in a safe manner. It is the employer’s responsibility to make this training available to them. Correct training can reduce the risk of an accident occurring as employers will be more aware of what potential hazards could be. If you have not received the training required for your job then it should not be carried out until you have been instructed on the correct practices and procedures.

Incorrect Equipment

When working at a height it is important that you choose the correct equipment to complete the job. If the correct equipment is not used it is more likely that you will sustain an overreaching injury*.

Positioning of Equipment

One common cause of an overreaching injury is the positioning of equipment. You may be expected to reach a certain object instead of repositioning the equipment in which you are on. This can put a strain on the muscles in your shoulder and back leading to an injury being sustained.


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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