Is it possible to make claims for manual handling injuries by shop assistants who are under the age of eighteen?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Provided that the accident in which the injuries were sustained were due to the negligence of an employer and that the injuries were examined by a medical professional and noted in the victims’ medical records, those under the age of eighteen should be eligible to make claims for manual handling injuries by shop assistants. However, if the under-age accident victim wishes to proceed with a claim for shop assistant manual handling injury before they reach their “majority”, they can only do so with a parent or guardian representing them as their “next friend”.

The reason for this is because under Irish law, a minor is not permitted to take any kind of civil action or engage a solicitor before they reach the age of eighteen. If you are represented in a shop assistant injury from manual handling compensation claim by a legal adult, the compensation award offered must be approved by a court and will then be held by the court in an interest bearing account until the date you become eighteen.

In general, your “next friend” will hire a solicitor to investigate your claim for shop assistant injury from manual handling compensation. The solicitor will speak with you about the circumstances of your injury, the training you were given and whether or not you were provided with mechanical aids to assist with manual handling.

If liability points to your employer, who may have breached his or her legal duty of care to provide you with a safe working environment, causing you to suffer a manual handling injury, your solicitor will help your legal representative prepare and submit an application for assessment of your claim for shop assistant manual handling injury to the Injuries Board Ireland.

While waiting for applications for assessment to be completed, solicitors are able to send Letters of Claim to any employers who are deemed responsible for an employee’s injury, informing them that claims for manual handling injuries by shop assistants have been made against them and inviting them to propose an offer of settlement. After a thorough investigation of their client’s case, a solicitor would have a good indication of the amount of compensation they would be eligible for and could recommend whether or not an offer of compensation, should it be forthcoming, is worth accepting.

If it is the case that an employer denies liability, fails to offer a satisfactory settlement or if the Injuries Board Ireland assessment is rejected by one or both parties, a claim for shop assistance manual handling injury can be taken to court. As the negligent party’s insurers would like to reduce their costs as much as possible, they may review their denial of liability for the injuries sustained in the workplace or they may increase the offer of shop assistant injury from manual handling compensation.

Waiting until you reach the age of eighteen is not recommended as claims are much easier to pursue when in their early stages. Those wishing to pursue claims for manual handling injuries by shop assistants are, therefore, strongly advised to consult a solicitor at the first practical moment.