Introduction to Work Injury Claims
There are no two work injury claims for compensation which are identical — irrespective of the nature of the injury. Inasmuch as a “standard” amount of compensation may be established for work injury claims involving a broken arm, carpal tunnel syndrome, acquired industrial disease or bullying in the workplace, personal factors also contribute the final work injury compensation claim settlement.
Your age, gender and state of health before your work injury are the first things that will be looked at prior to compiling work injury claims, but other considerations also have to be taken into account. How your work injury has affected your day-to-day activities is one major factor in work injury claims, as well as the psychological effect the work injury has had on your health.
The financial cost of your injury also has to be taken into account in work injury claims — with work injury compensation awarded for not just the costs you have incurred, but the future opportunities you may have missed out on. With so many variables in work injury claims for compensation, it is always in your best interests to engage the services of an experienced work injury claims solicitor.
Qualifying for Work Injury Claims
One of the first tasks a work injury claims solicitor will perform is the assessment of your case to ensure that you qualify for work injury compensation. In order to justify work injury compensation claims, there has to have been a quantifiable injury — either physical or psychological — which was caused by the negligence of your employer. The extent and severity of your injury can be identified through your medical records; however establishing negligence is often not as straightforward.
All employers have a duty of care to provide their employees with a safe environment in which to work. This duty of care starts with compiling a risk assessment prior to a task being undertaken, to providing training on how to perform the task, ensuring that the right equipment is available to protect the person carrying out the task and then supervising or monitoring the task as it is being completed.
Where any element in the employer´s duty of care is absent, and an injury occurs as a result, that employer can be regarded as the negligent party in work injury claims for compensation — even if it was the employer´s representative or another work colleague that was directly responsible for the work injury occurring.
Reporting Work Injury Claims
After any injury at work, your first priority has to be that of your health. No amount of work injury compensation will make up for a lifelong health issue which could have been avoided with timely medical attention. Furthermore, by failing to seek medical treatment at the first possible opportunity, you could be accused of exacerbating your work injury — a factor which could be detrimental to your work injury compensation claim settlement.
Once you have received initial treatment for your work injuries, you should make a report of the circumstances surrounding the injuries in your employer´s “Accident Report Book”. All employers are obliged to keep this book available to their staff, so even if you are sub-contracted, an agency or temporary worker, the report should still be made. Although there is no need to make accusations in the report, it is recommended that that the report is as comprehensive as possible.
Certain work injuries are required by law to be reported to the Health Service Executive. It is not your responsibility to do this, but often ideal to check that any major work injuries or those which result an absence of more than three working days are reported. The Health Service Executive may instigate an investigation into your accident or injury, and the outcome of their report can be of great benefit to any work injury claims for compensation.
Contributory Negligence and Work Injury Claims
It has already been mentioned above about how it can be claimed that you contributed to your injuries by failing to seek medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity, but there are other forms of contributory negligence which may also affect the value of a work injury compensation claim settlement.
The first is if you have actually been responsible for causing the scenario which led to your injury. For example, a person using a vibrating machine should take regular breaks and rotate their duties to prevent nerve damage work injuries such as vibration white finger. If however, that person works through their breaks or does excessive amounts of unsupervised overtime, it could be claimed that the person had contributed to their injuries through their own lack of care.
Contributory negligence can also apply when more than one party is liable for your injuries. Although this is rare in most work environments where your employer is responsible for your health and safety, work injury claims can be made against more than one party in scenarios such as workplace acquired industrial diseases — where more than one employer may have been negligent in protecting you from atmospheric hazards throughout your working career.
Making Work Injury Claims Against an Employer
Some people who have sustained work injuries due to an employer´s negligence are apprehensive about making work injury claims against an employer for fear of retribution or any damage which may be caused to future job prospects. Others may be reluctant to make work injury claims against employers who they have worked with for a long time and developed a friendly relationship.
Inasmuch as these are both understandable reasons to refrain from making work injury claims, it does you or your family no favours if you are unable to earn an income and have to rely on Statutory Sick Pay or Disability Benefit for the rest of your life because of somebody else´s lack of care. The money paid in compensation for work injury claims does not come out of an employer´s pocket and most employers are genuinely distressed that their lack of care has resulted in an injury to an employee.
Furthermore, work injury compensation claim settlements are paid by your employer´s public liability insurers to whom your employer pays insurance premiums for such an event. Most work injury claims are settled long before a court appearance would be necessary — so it is unlikely that you would ever have to face your employer across a courtroom — and should your employer subsequently penalise you for taking justifiable action against him, you will have the full support of an employment tribunal - where any fine imposed upon them will not be covered by their public liability insurance company.
Insurance Companies and Work Injury Claims
Insurance companies are a different story altogether. Their primary concern is to make money, and they will try anything to reduce the work injury compensation they have to pay you in the event that you sustain an injury due to their client´s negligence. An employer has an obligation to report any accidents to his public liability insurance company once an entry appears in the “Accident Report Book” and it is likely that this will prompt a direct approach to you with an offer of early settlement.
This approach - or “third party capture” as it is known in the insurance industry — is designed to catch you at your weakest; while you are still recovering from your injuries and possibly worried about your future financial prospects. The offer of early settlement — sometimes before you have even considered making work injury claims for compensation — is usually inadequate in respect of your injuries and offered without any assessment of your personal circumstances.
Inasmuch as the insurance company´s offer should be declined, their approach can actually be welcomed. It is a sign that your employer has admitted responsibility for your injuries and that a claim for work injury compensation would not have to overcome any liability issues. The only thing to be agreed upon now is how much compensation you are entitled to receive.
No Win No Fee Injury Work Claims
At the top of the page it was mentioned about some of the factors that have to be included in work injury claims and that no two cases are identical. When you include elements such as contributory negligence and Health Service Executive reports, it is easy to see why the majority of people making work injury claims for compensation do so with the assistance of an experienced work injury claims solicitor.
Many solicitors will offer to represent you on a “No Win, No Fee” injury work claims basis depending on the strength of your case and how quickly it can be resolved. Some may even choose to take on “No Win, No Fee” injury work claims - where liability is not straightforward - on the proviso that you take some form of “after the event” insurance coverage to eliminated the risk of exposure to the defendant´s legal fees.
Nearly all work injury solicitors will offer a free assessment of your case to advise you whether you have a work injury compensation claim which is worth your while to pursue, and provide free information about the time limits available to you in which to make a claim, how work injury claims to minors are managed and what steps you might need to take to ensure you have the strongest possible work injury claim for compensation.
In all work injury claims, it is advised that you speak directly to an experienced work injury claims solicitor as soon as you have received medical attention for your injury.