How to Claim Compensation for Back Injury at Work
This article explains some of the reasons why you might – or might not – qualify for compensation for back injury at work and what you should do after an accident at work to support a work injured back claim for compensation.
Why You Should Consult A Solicitor
While we strive to ensure all the articles on this site are factually accurate you should never solely rely on the information supplied here. Every accident and injury case is different and while reading one of our articles can provide you with general information you should always get expert advice and consult a solicitor before taking any action that may have legal consequences.
Seek Professional Medical Treatment
Your first priority should always be your health and, if you have not already done so, you should seek professional medical treatment for your injury. No amount of work back injury compensation will ever make up for a long term health issue which could have been avoided by timely medical attention and, to support your claim for injuring your back at work, you will need a doctor to complete the Injuries Board Medical Assessment Form B.
The Duty of Care of Employers
In order to be eligible to claim compensation for back injury at work, you must have sustained an injury which could have been prevented had your employer – or other person with responsibility for your health and safety – adhered to his or her duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to work.
An employer´s “duty of care” covers all his or her responsibilities to prevent any sort of injury wherever possible, and would include performing risk assessments to identify foreseeable hazards, providing training and supervision, and supplying personal protective equipment where necessary to eliminate the risk of an employee sustaining damage to their health at work.
Should an employer fail in their duty of care to eliminate the risk of health damage, and you subsequently sustain a injury as a result, you should be entitled to make a work injured back claim for compensation. It should be noted, however, that an employer´s duty of care is not “absolute” and, if you are injured in an accident at work which could not have been foreseen, claims for injuries to back at work are unlikely to be successful.
How Your Employment Status May Affect a Claim for Back Damage at Work
It is not often that your employment status will affect your entitlement to claim for back damage at work, but there may be occasions when agency workers, employees on short-term contracts or self-employed workers may have to make a compensation for back injury at work claim against somebody other than their direct employer – for example the owner of the premises on which the injury was sustained.
Possibly of more concern if you have been injured in an accident at work is the fact that you do not want to fall out with your employer but, because of financial necessity, you need to make a claim for injuring your back at work against their employer´s liability insurance policy.
Most employers will be genuinely regretful that you have been hurt at work due to their negligence and will admit their liability; but there are some circumstances in which an employer will want to protect their insurance policy excess and dispute your work back injury compensation claim.
Reporting Back Injury Work Accidents
Although a copy of this report is not sent to the Injuries Board when applying for an assessment of compensation for back injury at it is still important that your work accident is recorded in your employer’s “Accident Report Book”, as reporting a workplace accident may initiate a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) investigation which could establish your employer´s liability in your compensation for back injury at work claim.
If liability can be established before making claims for injuries to back at work, it should speed up the Injuries Board process or may enable a solicitor acting on your behalf to negotiate a settlement of work back injury compensation without the need for witness statements or photographic evidence of your employer´s negligence.
If your injury is so severe that you are unable to report your workplace accident – or your employer fails to give you access to the Accident Report Book – you would be recommended to speak with a solicitor. Work accidents can be reported online at the HSA web site, but you will need an approval code to use the service and it may be a lot simpler for a solicitor to generate a report on your behalf and then use it in support of a work injured back claim for compensation.
How Much is a Claim for Injuring your Back at Work Worth?
The amount of compensation for back injury at work you will be entitled to receive will depend on the location, nature and severity of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to the accident in which you sustained your injury.
Financial values for back injuries can be found in the Book of Quantum, but these values only account for the physical pain and suffering you experience at the time the injury occurred and not for the “inconvenience of incapacity” that might result from an injury you suffered at work.
Claims for injuries to back at work should include compensation for the impact that your injured back has on your ability to perform everyday domestic tasks and your incapacity to participate in leisure pursuits or engage in an active social life. There is very little opportunity to account for this “loss of amenity” when making a claim for injuring your back at work through the Injuries Board process, and this is a further reason why you should speak with solicitor with experience of making a claim for back damage at work – to ensure you receive your full entitlement to work back injury compensation.
The amounts you are claiming for expenses, lost income and any other costs you have incurred due to your injury are then added to the compensation values above to finalise how much your work injured back claim for compensation is worth.
You may also be able to recover any legal costs you have incurred in pursuit of your claim for injuring your back at work, fares paid to use alternative forms of transport if you are unable to drive and future medical costs if, for example, physiotherapy is required in order that you make a full recovery from the injury you sustained in the work place.
Unsolicited Offers of Compensation from Insurance Companies
You should always speak with a solicitor if you receive a direct approach from an insurance company with an unsolicited offer of work back injury compensation. Insurance companies are often made aware of work accidents when a report is made in the employer’s “Accident Report Book”, and may make an approach even before you have considered making a claim for injuring your back at work.
The purpose of the insurance company’s approach is to reduce how much compensation for back injury at work they will have to pay you and they are successful enough times in tempting plaintiffs with an offer which would result in a quick settlement to keep on trying.
Even if you are concerned about your short-term finances, you should refrain from accepting an insurance company´s unsolicited offer of compensation until you have discussed your claim for back damage at work with a solicitor.
By their approach, the insurance company has effectively admitted your employer´s liability for your workplace injury, and your solicitor will be able to engage in direct negotiations with the insurance company to obtain a full and satisfactory settlement of your work injured back claim for compensation – organising interim payments until the claim is resolved if necessary.
Do I Need a Solicitor?
You do not need a solicitor in order to make claims for injuries to back at work, but you would be better served by doing so.
In addition to acting as a go-between between yourself and your employer, and dealing with any complications that arise while making a claim for back damage at work, a solicitor has the experience to ensure you receive your full entitlement to work back injury compensation – whether your claim for injuring your back at work is resolved via the Injuries Board, by negotiation with your employer´s insurers or through court action.
Most solicitors will offer a free assessment of your work injured back claim for compensation if you have sustained an injury in a work accident for which you were not entirely to blame, and provide you with answers to any questions you may have in regard to your entitlement to claim compensation for back injury at work. As it is often in your best interest to have evidence collected in support of your claim for back damage at work while it is still fresh, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of the injury you suffered in a work accident without delay.