Sophie was a devoted staff member of a supermarket chain and had been for numerous years. Throughout her tenure, she received no training regarding the proper and official methods for performing routine tasks, including the manual lifting of heavy items such as online delivery orders. Sophie’s duties encompassed the lifting of boxes of varying weights and dimensions into a truck, which proved to play a primary role in the cause of her injury. Compounding the issue was the absence of any training provided to address the physical strain that comes with regularly performing this task. The negligent actions of her employers, coupled with their inability to establish a safe work environment, led to Sophie enduring intense back pain. This discomfort later radiated, impacting one leg all the way down to her foot and the other leg as far as her knee, impeding her ability to carry out ordinary tasks and disrupting her daily routine. It is possible that had the staff shown greater awareness to the strain Sophie was enduring and had implemented a system of rotating staff members or alternative precautionary methods, the unfortunate outcome for Sophie may have been altered.
After sustaining her injuries, Sophie promptly sought medical attention and ultimately had to leave her job due to the persistent and excruciating pain she was experiencing. Her journey began with physiotherapy, which led to an immediate recommendation for an MRI scan of her lumbar spine. Subsequently, she was referred to consult with a spinal surgeon. Despite undergoing a bilateral microdiscectomy and decompression surgery, Sophie continued to suffer with severe pain resulting from her injury.
Additionally, Sophie reported experiencing sensory symptoms on the dorsum of her left foot and the lateral aspect of her calf. Her ability to bend and stoop remained restricted, and she engaged in physiotherapy aimed at core stability exercises. With her daily walking time limited to only 20-30 minutes, her overall activities were significantly curtailed, impacting her quality of life.
All employers are responsible for the safety and well-being and of their staff and should ensure that they are working in a safe, clean environment free of potential hazards. It was their failure to fulfil their duty of care, that led to Sophies injuries in the department. The management should have been aware of the risks and taken precautions to prevent accidents such as Sophies. Hence, this commercial store can be held liable for the harm caused due to their negligent behaviour and failure to exercise proper caution.
Court proceedings were instigated, and the case was brought to a successful conclusion.
The case was settled in the High Court on the 20th of February 2023 for the sum of €80,000. This was a great result for an admirable client, we are proud of all the work put in by Paul and his 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.
In order for your solicitor to proceed with a personal injury claim for you they will need the following information:
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