Guide to Office Injury Compensation
An office may not seem like a dangerous place to work; however there are many hazards in an office which can lead to accidents, and claims for office injury compensation when injuries have been sustained due to the negligence of an employer.
Office injury compensation can be claimed against an employer for injuries sustained as a result of trips, slips or falls when the employer has been negligent and has failed to maintain the working environment to a satisfactory level. Injuries caused by electrical faults and short circuits from aging or obsolete equipment or from manual handling accidents can often result in office injury compensation due to employer negligence.
Visitors to an office, delivery drivers and office cleaners also are eligible to claim office injury compensation when the employer, office owner, or lease holder of the premises has been negligent and health and safety is compromised.
Employers Duty of Care Towards Office Workers
An employer is required by law to maintain a clean and safe environment for his workers, which includes regular cleaning, keeping walkways clear from trip hazards, and the maintenance of electrical equipment. Cabling must be kept tidy, worn carpet on stairs needs to be repaired or replaced, and manual handling needs to be kept to the minimum level. When facing financial pressures, maintenance standards can often slip, cleaning frequency reduced and health and safety equipment may not be replaced. Regardless of operating costs and financial pressures, working conditions must be maintained to a high standard, and employees should not have to face health and safety risks. If an injury is the result of an employee being placed at risk and an accident occurs, office injury compensation is applicable.
It has been estimated that 50% of manual handling accidents occur in safe environments such as offices, and these are often due to inadequate training and reduction of risk. Having to carry heavy boxes of paper and stationary can easily lead to injuries. Lifting injuries can cause serious pain and suffering but, as with most office manual handling injuries, they can easily be avoided with proper staff training and the provision of appropriate safety equipment.
Repetitive Strain Injuries and Office Injury Compensation
Trips, falls and physical injuries sustained by a single trauma may result in serious injuries; however it is not just accidents which can result in claims for office injury compensation. Many disabilities can develop over time as a result of poor posture or repetitive strain, with the upper body, neck, arms and shoulders common sites of injuries. These types of injuries are usually the direct result of inadequate workstations, poor office planning, and poor ergonomics.
Office work invariably involves computer work, and working at a desk for long periods without taking regular breaks can cause a number of repetitive strain injuries to develop. Repetitive strain injuries can have a sudden onset, but usually develop over time. Most repetitive strain injuries suffered by office workers occur in the wrists and hands. The symptoms are usually mild initially, but can become serious and highly painful, and can lead to lengthy periods of sick leave whilst recovering.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common repetitive strain injuries affecting office workers and office injury compensation claims for this condition are on the increase. Carpal tunnel syndrome is commonly associated with data entry, typing and secretarial work. The condition is caused by excessive pressure on the carpal tunnel area of the wrist which causes compression of the nerves. Over time the condition can cause numbness in the hands, tingling in the fingers and a loss of manual dexterity. If left untreated the condition can become serious and lead to chronic pain.
Repetitive strain injuries can often be prevented with the provision of suitable seating, mouse and keyboard wrist supports, and by rotation of intensive duties. Adequate rest breaks should also be encouraged by an employer, with his staff not made to work for long hours without breaks.
In all cases when pain, numbness, tingling or discomfort is felt, a record should be made in the office accident book, and the problem highlighted to the employer. The employer should be given the opportunity to take action to prevent further injury. You should also seek medical treatment for the condition. A copy of the accident report and your medical records will be required by an office injury compensation solicitor as part of the claims process.
Making an Office Injury Compensation Claim
Making an office injury compensation claim against a current employer can be a worrying and potentially stressful experience. Many people are put off making a claim for fear of losing their job, being treated badly by an employer or work colleagues, or that it will affect future promotion opportunities. This should not prevent you from making an office injury compensation claim for an injury which has been sustained as a result of an employer’s negligence. Office injury compensation is not paid by your manager or employer, but is covered by the insurance premiums which are paid by an employer specifically to cover accidents and injuries in the workplace.
Office Injury compensation settlements will include compensation for physical injuries, unpaid time off while you recover from your injury, expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident, transportation costs as well as compensation for psychological issues which have developed as a direct result of an office injury. Office injury compensation claims need not involve physical injuries, and an employer can be ordered to pay office injury compensation for sexual harassment, unchecked discrimination and bullying, and even for the physical and psychological symptoms of stress when it can be shown that the employer failed in his duty of care to protect his employees from such injury.
Office Injury Compensation Claims and Third Party Capture
Most employers are genuinely concerned about the personal health and safety of their employees, and would not attempt to deny a claim or penalise an employee who has been genuinely injured in the workplace. However, their concern also extends to advising their public liability insurance company that you may be making an office injury compensation claim, prompting the insurance company to approach you directly with an early offer of settlement.
These offers are usually inadequate for the severity of the injury you have suffered and the consequences the injury has made to your quality of life. Although it is recommended that you should speak with a solicitor prior to making any claim for office injury compensation, it is especially the case when you have been approached with an inappropriate offer of office injury compensation.