Would I be eligible to make a compensation claim for a back injury at work if I hurt my back falling down some damaged steps outside the office?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Would I be eligible to make a compensation claim for a back injury at work if I hurt my back falling down some damaged steps outside the office?

Answer:

You should be eligible to make a compensation claim for a back injury at work, however you may find that it is not your employer against whom the claim is made but the person or persons responsible for the safety of the building in which your office is located.

Not all businesses own their premises and there is a good chance that the condition of any exterior steps is under the control of the building owner or a management company. You should speak with your employer and establish who is responsible for the maintenance of the steps to determine against whom you should claim compensation for a back injury at work.

Once you are aware of who is be responsible for the maintenance of the steps, it then has to be proven that they were negligent in failing to maintain the steps on which you fell. The success of your claim on a back injury at work may well hinge on how long the steps had been in a condition of disrepair and whether your employer, the building owner or company responsible for maintenance had a “reasonable” amount of time to repair any damage once it had been reported to them.

As the responsible party´s duty of care is not “absolute” – for example, had you injured your back at work within an hour of the steps becoming damaged – it is advisable to speak with work colleagues and other people who use the building to determine if any of them identified a potential hazard. It may also be possible to use any CCTV security videos located outside of the building in support of your claim for back injury at work compensation.

If you are still recovering from your injury at work and unable to collect this information, it would be in your best interests to speak with a solicitor about the circumstances surrounding your accident. A solicitor will be able to investigate the length of time that the steps had represented a hazard, prepare and submit your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment and ensure that how much compensation for a back injury at work is claimed not only represents your injured back but also reflects the deterioration to your quality of life which is attributable to your office accident.

As the person or persons responsible for maintaining the steps outside of your office may already be in the process of repairing the damage which was responsible for your injury, it would be advisable to contact a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.