Catherine injured herself in work while she was using a hand pallet truck that moves stock. The pallet was brought in by a supplier which was stocked in the workplace. The pallet was jammed against a wall and when she went to pull it out with a pallet truck, the pallet truck slid out from under the pallet and fell backwards with her onto the ground. After falling, Catherine continued to work and finished her shift one hour later. She injured the left side of her chest, her left arm, her shoulder and her lower back. She returned home but could not get out of bed the next morning as she had injured all her left side. She needed physiotherapy on over 20 occasions due to the accident and had also problems with day to day activities especially sleeping.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board decided that it would not be appropriate to make an assessment because of the complexity of certain issues. Proceedings were issued on the 15/03/12.
The case was settled in the High Court on the 12/03/2013. Catherine’s workplace has a duty of care towards their employees and the accident was not Catherine’s fault as the work conditions were not safe and negligence was proven.
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.
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.
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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