I was recently operating a buzz-saw at work when I sustained a bad cut to my thumb. I received first aid at the scene, but when I visited the doctor the following week the wound had become infected. Is my employer liable for any thumb injury claims?
While you may be entitled to some compensation for thumb injury claims, the fact that there was a delay in visiting the doctor could make contributory negligence a factor and result in a decrease in the amount of compensation you can claim. First it is necessary to determine why you may be entitled to some compensation. Your employer has a duty to provide you a safe environment in which to work, meaning that if an injury is sustained in the workplace they may be liable for a compensation claim — provided that the victim is not responsible for the accident. In your case, you may be liable to claim compensation if the buzz-saw you were operating was of an unsafe standard, or if the protective gloves you were given were inadequate.
However the fact that a delay of a week occurred when seeking medical attention may affect any thumb injury claims that could be made. After an injury has been sustained, it is crucial that immediate medical attention is sought in order to prevent further deterioration in your injury — even if you were offered first aid at the scene of the accident. Professional medical attention is required at the earliest opportunity after an accident, and failure to acquire this may be seen as contributory negligence. It could be determined that while your employer was liable for your initial injury, you may be held liable for the further injury which was sustained — in this case the infection — as it may have been prevented if immediate medical attention was sought.
It is possible that your claim to compensation may be challenged if contributory negligence is suspected. It is also possible that you may be directly contacted by your employer’s insurance company with an unsolicited offer of compensation. While it may be tempting to accept this to settle short-term monetary concerns, there is a possibility that it will be insufficient to pay for your medical costs or to provide for your family. For these reasons you are advised to consult a personal injury* solicitor at the earliest opportunity. This should be done to determine liability for your accident, establish whether contributory negligence is a factor and in order to answer any further questions you may have regarding thumb injury claims.