I have been out of work for two months following a back injury caused by lifting a heavy object at work. Can I claim compensation against my employers?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

To claim compensation for a back injury caused by lifting a heavy object at work against your employers, it must be established that they breached their duty of care to provide their employees with a safe working environment. Employers should make every effort to prevent employee back injuries by providing an alternative solution to lifting heavy objects, such as by using mechanical equipment. If your injury has been caused due to the failure of your employers in their duty of care, you should be able to claim compensation against them.

However, as back injuries fall into two categories – traumatic injuries and repetitive injuries – proving that your back injury caused by lifting a heavy object at work was, in fact, due to your employers’ negligence may prove difficult. A traumatic injury occurs when sudden excessive strain damages the back and repetitive injuries are sustained over a period of time.

It would be in your best interest to contact an experienced solicitor to assist with your compensation claim for a back injury caused by lifting a heavy object at work. There are some procedures to take in which he or she would be able to aid you like, for example, gaining access to CCTV to establish the circumstances of the injury, or by gathering the details of any witnesses. No claim can be made unless your injury has been examined by a medical practitioner and reported in your medical history. If you have not already seen a medical professional, it is imperative that you see one immediately, especially since your accident occurred two months ago.

It is possible that you may be approached by your employers’ insurance company with an early offer of compensation for your back injury caused by lifting a heavy object at work. Although this effectively admits your employers’ liability and you may be tempted to accept the offer, it is always worthwhile to refer it to your solicitor who can determine whether or not it is an acceptable and fair reflection of your injury and the impact it has had on your life. Unsolicited offers often neglect to include important factors in their offer, such as “loss of amenity”, where your injury has prevented you from enjoying a full and active life. Additionally, you may be entitled to recover any expenses incurred that are directly attributable to your injury – including loss of income – which an insurance company’s offer would be unlikely to include.