Myth –v- Reality
As a solicitor in Cantillons Solicitors, many people have said to me that they were injured at work, their employer is insured and surely they are entitled to compensation. However, our legal system does not work like that and insurance only comes into place if there is a requirement for a pay-out. The reality is that nobody pays, unless the employee can establish that the employer was at fault.
Generally speaking, there are three areas where an employer might be at fault;
Un-Safe Place - An employer must provide a safe place of work for its employees- for example, if there is a hole in the floor, and the employee falls into the hole and breaks his leg, then the employee would have a solid case against his employer for failing to provide a safe place of work
Un-Safe Employees - An employer must provide competent fellow employees- for example, if an incompetent employee, during the course of his duties, causes an injury to a fellow employee, then that other employee will have a solid case against the employer for the fault of the fellow employee.
Un-Safe Equipment - An employer must provide proper tools, equipment and appliances to enable the employee do their work- for example, if an employer provides, a faulty hoist which results in items falling on to an employee, that employee would have a solid case against the employer.
Apart from these, there is also a raft of safety legislation which imposes strict obligations on an employer. You, the employee must also take care of your safety and if you do not, you may have your compensation reduced. So, for example, if you are found to be 20% contributory negligent, your compensation will be reduced by that 20%.
Medical Attention - Make sure you get the appropriate medical attention as soon possible for your injury.
Report it! – It may seem obvious but when you are injured you may forget how important it is to report the accident/incident to your superiors. You may be asked to complete an accident report form and you should ask your employer about that and seek a copy.
Who was there? - At Cantillons Solicitors, we recommend that you keep a note of any witnesses to the accident. If we are consulted at a later stage about your accident, we will speak to those witnesses and have an engineer attend your workplace to inspect the area with you.
Who pays you if you are off work? - If you are injured, you may need time off. Your employer does not have to pay you while you are out of work, unless such pay is provided for on a sick pay scheme. You may be entitled to a payment from the Department of Social Protection. If you suffering a loss of earnings because of the accident, keep a note of this and all other expenses as we will look to include those losses in any subsequent claim.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or [email protected] if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.