Claire’s daily routine involved navigating a forklift within her workplace’s boundaries. However, one day while utilizing the forklift, an abrupt and hazardous sequence of events unfolded. The ground beneath the wheels, slippery and treacherous, was present because of the defendant’s negligent and careless inaction. The forklift’s tires gave up their grip, forcing the forklift Claire was in into a disorienting collision with a product truck propelling her from the vehicle onto the concrete floor. In the aftermath of this traumatizing encounter, her rib cage, left wrist, and left knee were damaged due to the force of the impact. Urgent medical intervention became imperative, she was brought to a nearby hospital in search of the critical care her injuries demanded.
Following an assessment conducted by one of the attending nurses, her chest injury was categorized as level 3. Medication was administered to alleviate the pain stemming from the various other areas impacted by the accident. Subsequently, she developed pain in her right shoulder due to the strain exerted as she held herself off the ground to lend support to her injured ribs. Claire found herself in agony, her sleep was disrupted by the torment that her pain caused. Simple everyday tasks, once taken for granted, proved to be a challenge; her ability to perform actions such as washing her hair and cooking were severely curtailed as the use of her arm had become significantly compromised since the accident. She was no longer able to commit to a short-distanced walk as her knee would swell and cause increased pain. She became unable to stand for long periods and was told to elevate her knee while relaxing or while in a seated position to avoid her knee locking resulting in her need to “click it out” of place.
Due to the neglectful actions displayed by her management and their disability to maintain a safe working environment for Claire, and other potential colleagues, she found herself subject to this traumatic ordeal. This unfortunate turn of events instilled in her a deep-seated fear of forklifts and her loss of independence as she was unable to drive for long periods of time and required help around the clock at home. The defendant failed to allow for any signs or signals of the wet and slippery floor that Claire fell victim to. Every employer bears the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of their workforce and is expected to provide a safe and hazard free environment to ensure their safety. In this instance, a well-structured protocol should have been in place, encouraging staff to promptly address and rectify instances of unclean, hazardous, and slippery conditions that could cause harm to other members of the staff team.
Court proceedings were instigated, and the case was brought to a successful conclusion.
The case was settled in the High Court on the 3rd of July 2023 for the sum of €37,500. This was a great result for an admirable client, we are proud of all the work put in by Ruth and her team to achieve this brilliant outcome.
*Note: Client name changed for GDPR reasons.
It is important to immediately take the following steps after the occurrence of an accident at work.
There are strict obligations on employers under the Health & Safety Acts together with other legislation to ensure that employees have a safe system of work and that employees are properly trained in the tasks that they are carrying out and that they are provided with proper equipment in the course of their employment.
After an accident at work and before making a work related claim, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. In minor workplace incidents whereby you have a slip, trip or fall, you may feel as though you are fine, but what you don’t realise is that the minor injury you have suffered could develop into a bigger health issue for you. Assessing your health after an accident is a critical first step.
Once you have had a medical assessment there are a number of steps you will follow:
1. Report the accident to your superior
Before making work related claims it is important that you notify your manager at work as to the accident that occurred. You need you to inform them of the injuries you suffered and the cause of the accident. It is advisable for you to seek confirmation from your superior that you have reported the accident, whether it is written or electronic.
2. Seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor
Once you have reported the accident, it is important that you seek advice from a personal injury solicitor who has experience with accidents in the workplace. They can then talk you through the next steps as to what is involved when making work related claims.
In the event that you do decide to take a personal injury claim, you are not obliged to personally tell your employer. Your solicitor can write to your employer and notify them of the claim. Some of our clients have told us that they feel that it would be better for them to inform their employer that a claim was being made and that their solicitor would be in touch. This is a matter for each client. Generally, we would advise that all communications regarding the case take place between the legal representatives.
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