Guide to Injury at Work Rights
Work related injuries are a sensitive subject for many people who are concerned about their injury at work rights. While you may be worried that you may experience unpleasant repercussions with your employer and co-workers, making a workplace injury claim is a routine procedure which should not affect your working relationships. In this article, we will explain the grounds of a work injury claim, what you should do following an accident and what you may expect in terms of your injury at work rights.
The Injury Factor in Your Injury at Work Rights to Compensation
When you are trying to establish your injury at work rights, the first question you should ask yourself is whether you have actually sustained an injury . As with every other type of personal injury claim, a workplace injury claim is a claim for an injury or loss that you have personally sustained. Near misses, even if they almost caused a serious injury, do not entitle you to seek compensation. Once you have established that you have suffered an actual injury via a medical examination, the next step is to determine whether your employer bears responsibility for it.
The Negligence Factor in Your Injury at Work Rights to Compensation
In order for a workplace injury claim to be successful, your injury must be attributable to your employer’s negligence; as negligence is what legally establishes liability. Often, an employer’s negligence manifests as a “lack of care” – i.e. your employer fails to inform you of the risks associated with your tasks, or provides insufficient training – which is legally viewed as a breach in the “duty of care” owed to you by the employer. When you can establish that you have sustained an injury or loss and is it due to your employer’s negligence, you have a right to compensation as part of you injury at work rights.
What to do After an Accident: Your Health and Safety
If you have suffered a serious work injury, it is most likely that an ambulance will be summoned, you will be treated for your injuries on site or taken to hospital. However, if the accident is less severe you should still report to the casualty department of your nearest hospital, or, at the very least, make an immediate appointment to see your general practitioner. When you go to a hospital and/or see your doctor, your visit will be recorded in your medical records, which will later play an instrumental part in supporting any claim for compensation you may wish to make. Claiming compensation for injuries suffered due to your employer’s negligence is part of your injury at work rights.
Formalities: Record Your Injury in the “Accident Report Book’
By law, your employer is required to have an “Accident Report Book” at your disposal. As soon as it is practicable, you should record the details of your accident or incident in it. In your report there is no need to attribute blame, but you should retain a copy of what has been entered in the “Accident Report Book” to provide to a solicitor.
When your injury results in an absence from work for more than three days, under your injury at work rights your employer is legally required to report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE may choose to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and/or injury and produce their own report – which you or your solicitor should obtain a copy of to support a civil action for compensation.
Injury at Work Rights to General Damages and Special Damages
As part of your injury at work rights, you may seek compensation through general damages and special damages. General damages address the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your employer´s negligence and the subsequent effect on your quality of life. Special damages compensate quantifiable losses attributable to your injury – for example, if you must take an extended time off work, special damages compensate for your loss of earnings for the foreseeable future – giving you the peace of mind you need to concentrate on your recovery.
How the Statute of Limitations Affects Your Injury at Work Rights
When you are considering making a workplace injury claim, it is important to note that there is a time limitation of three years from the “date of knowledge” of an injury for you to file or settle a claim. In most cases, the “date of knowledge” that you sustained an injury will be the date on which an accident occurred. However, if you have developed a work-related industrial disease over a number of years, the “date of knowledge” is when you have been diagnosed with an injury which is acknowledged to have originated from your place of work. It is at this point that the three year limit begins.
Public Liability Insurance Companies and Third Party Capture
One organisation that may well ignore your injury at work rights is your employer´s public liability insurance company. Once your employer has acknowledged his liability for your injury, the insurance company may make a direct approach to you – sometimes even before you have considered making a work injury claim – with an offer of early settlement. Frequently these offers are far below what you might reasonably expect from a compensation settlement if you case was heard in court or even negotiated by a solicitor, and this is why the best way to protect your injury at work rights and ensure you receive a fair and adequate compensation settlement is to speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.