Case Study

Heavy lifting injury sustained at work

Case Type: Accident at Work
Injury: Soft tissue in back, lower leg injury
Settled by: Maria Lakes
Settled on: 25th May, 2023
Heavy lifting injury sustained at work

Case summary:


David’s work routine as a cable technician involved laying cables underground and lifting equipment and materials on and off a van. David had to travel to various sites to carry out his work. To enable him to transport all the required materials, he was provided with a van.

Just three months into his employment with the defendants, David developed lower back pain.

One day while working, David and three of his colleagues, off-loaded and loaded a machine that weighed two hundred and five kilograms.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) states that the maximum weight a male at knuckle height can lift alone is twenty-five kilograms. When lifting in teams, the HSA states that using 85% of the total individual limit of twenty five kilograms per person will allow a safe margin. Therefore, for four men lifting the weight together, the maximum weight that should’ve been lifted was eighty-five kilograms.

The two hundred- and five-kilogram machine weighed more than twice the combined capabilities of the four male handlers. This machine was carried on multiple occasions by David and his colleagues.

As David’s employment within the company continued, so did the pain in his back. He began to report pain shooting down his left lower leg. This pain often resulted in what David described as a pins and needles sensation in his foot. David was referred to a physiotherapist.

The physio exercises did little to reduce his pain, and David was brought in for injection therapy on his left leg. One month later David returned to work, as he had a family to support.

Three months after his return, David suffered another back injury due to lifting heavy equipment. He left the company as his pain became unbearable.

David underwent an MRI scan of his spine. This showed that he had a disc coming out of its rightful place.

Previously, David enjoyed walking and various outdoor activities including playing with his two young children and motor cycling. He became unable to carry out these activities.

Both sitting down and standing up for long periods of time brought discomfort for David.

Due to the neglectful actions displayed by his employer and their failure to follow health and safety practices for David, and his colleagues, he found himself subject to ongoing pain and discomfort.

Every employer bears the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of their workforce and are expected to provide safe and hazard-free protocols. In this instance, machines twice the recommended weight should not have been carried by employees.

Case progression:

Court proceedings were instigated, and the case was brought to a successful conclusion.

Case settlement:

The case was settled in the High Court on the 3rd of October 2023 for the sum of €45,000. This was a great result for our client, we are proud of all the work put in by Maria and her team to achieve this brilliant outcome.

*Note: Client name changed for GDPR reasons.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What to do after an accident at work?

    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.

  2. What information will my solicitor need to make a claim?

    In order for your solicitor to proceed with a personal injury claim for you they will need the following information:

    • Details of the person who caused the accident.
    • Names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
    • Where available, photographs of the location of the accident, paying particular attention to the item or area where the accident happened.
    • Name of Gardaí/police and station where the accident was reported – names of any Gardaí who attended the scene of the accident (where applicable).
    • Medical records detailing any injuries/treatment following the accident.
    • Details of any costs incurred following the accident (keep your receipts).
    • Details of any loss of earnings and details of any future loss of earnings if you are to be out of work for a long period of time.
    • Cost of medical treatment – details of future medical treatment needed.
  3. How to calculate the value of my claim?

    The Injuries Board Book of Quantum provides us with general guidelines as to how much compensation may be awarded in a personal injury claim and is used by the Injuries Board when they are assessing a personal injury claim. This book was compiled by examining sample cases from over 51,000 closed personal injury cases from 2013 and 2014 and is based on actual court figures. It shows us what personal injury compensation amounts were awarded in the past and help give an estimate as to how much compensation could be awarded based on a person’s specific injuries.

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