During the recent builder’s holiday period I had a number of enquiries frompersons injured in accidents at work. It might be useful to set out some basic facts about such claims.
Injuries at work can occur as a result of the employer’s breach of Health and Safety Regulations or failure to provide a safe place of work. Employers are obliged to carry out risk assessments of dangers involved and to provide safe equipment. If injury results for failure to do so compensation can be claimed.
An injured person is legally obliged to notify his employer within two months of an injury occurring at work. If the injury is severe the employer will already be aware. If an accident report form is completed the injured person should request a copy of it.
Apart from the above two month time limit there isa more important strict two year period within which a legal claim for compensation must be brought or otherwise the claim fails no matter how badly injured the person may be.
Who to sue
The injured person should seek legal advice immediatelyas to who tosue. It may be a private individual or a limited liability company or there maybe sub-contractors involved and this may take time to unravel. Different Insurance Companies may be involved.
If the wrong person is sued the claim can fail completely.
Initially a compensation claim must be taken to the Injuries Board (PIAB) which has 12 months to assess a claim –without liability being admitted –so it is essential that the scene of the accident is preserved either by photographs or by inspection. Prompt legal advice in this regard is essential.
If successful an injured person is entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering of the injury, for loss of earnings, medical and out of pocket expenses.
If the injury affects the future ability to work then substantial future losses will arise which must be assessed.
An employer may not dismiss or harass an employee who has brought a personal injury claim against him and strict employment laws exist to prevent this.
Furthermore, any such action on the part of the employer can lead to punitive or aggravated compensation being awarded by the Court.
Prepare a claim properly!