Plaintiffs claiming compensation for office accidents (*) suffer injuries in a number of different scenarios. Slips, trips and falls are among the most common, and plaintiffs can also suffer injuries due to faulty office equipment, repetitive strain injuries and non-physical injuries due to stress or bullying.
These prevention of these scenarios are covered by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2007). If your employer is in breach of these regulations – and you sustain an injury as a direct result – it may be possible to make an office injury compensation claim.
Prompt Medical Attention is Important
Naturally, when you have sustained a serious injury in an office accident, you would seek medical attention at once. It is equally as important to seek prompt medical attention if you are suffering from the symptoms of a repetitive strain injury or experiencing health problems due to a stressful working environment.
Not only will attending a hospital or your GP be beneficial to your health, it can also prevent a claim against your employer being contested on the grounds you allowed an existing condition to deteriorate to a much worse level than was caused by your employer´s negligence.
If you have unjustifiably delayed seeking medical attention, it will not disqualify you from claiming compensation for office accidents, but it could affect the settlement of your claim. If you are found to have contributed to the cause of your accident or extent of your injury, the settlement will be reduced to reflect your contributory negligence.
Claiming Compensation for Office Accidents
The process for claiming compensation for office accidents in Ireland is similar to most other personal injury claims. You apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim, and the Injuries Board will contact your employer requesting his or her consent to conduct the assessment.
If consent is given, the Injuries Board will assess your office accident claim based on the information you have provided and your doctor´s medical report. You will then be advised of the final assessment and, if both parties agree on the amount of the assessment, your employer´s insurance company will settle your claim.
As any future settlement depends on you providing full details of the consequences of your accident – including the financial consequences – it is in your best interests to seek professional legal advice about the completion of the Injuries Board assessment form. Details are easy to forget in the aftermath of an accident, and the Injuries Board cannot be held responsible for any omissions from your application.
What Happens if Claims are Contested?
When claims for compensation for office accidents are contested – either by the refusal to give consent or a disagreement over the Injuries Board´s assessment – you will be issued with an “Authorisation” to pursue your claim through the courts system.
Litigation is not always necessary, as it may be possible to resolve your claim by negotiation with your employer´s insurance company. This is not a process you should attempt alone, and it is often worthwhile to engage the services of a solicitor to act on your behalf.
The same applies if you are approached with an unsolicited offer of office accident compensation by the insurance company. Never accept an unsolicited offer without first having it reviewed by a person with experience of office accident claims, as insurance companies tend to prioritise their profits ahead of the needs of plaintiffs.
Further Issues Related to Office Accident Claims
One further advantage of engaging a solicitor when claiming compensation for office accidents is to avoid workplace confrontations. Most employers acknowledge their liability when an employee is injured due to a lack of care, but some have been known to make life uncomfortable for employees – especially those complaining of an injury due to unreasonable stress or workplace bullying.
Claiming compensation for office accidents should not affect your position at work, or the respect of your employer. If you feel you are being victimised due to having made an office accident claim against your employer, you should bring this to the attention of your solicitor at once and, if you have not engaged one at this point, seek legal advice at the first practical opportunity.