Because I was electrocuted by a toaster when on my lunch break can I claim compensation for being electrocuted at work? The toaster in question belongs to my employers and is in the on-site canteen. I suffered quite serious nerve damage to my right hand.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Provided that it can be established that your accident was caused by another party’s negligence, you should be able to claim compensation for being electrocuted at work. Most cases such as this name the employer as the person responsible for your accident as he or she owes their employees a duty of care to provide them with a safe work environment – even when on lunch break. The toaster that caused your electrocution could have been faulty and in need of replacement, whereby your employer would have to take the blame for causing your accident. In rarer cases, the claim would be made against the toaster’s manufacturer.

After being electrocuted, your first priority should have been your health. It is highly important that you sought medical treatment – administered by a professional – immediately after your accident. Not only is immediate medical attention vital to your health, by waiting for a few days after your accident to be examined by a medical practitioner you could be accused of contributory negligence and the value of your compensation could be significantly reduced.

After receiving medical attention you should engage with a solicitor to assist you with pursuing your compensation for being electrocuted at work claim. A common concern among employees making claims against their employer is that their work relationship will be damaged. A solicitor will ensure that the claim is handled in such a way that eliminates the risk of conflict.

Another issue that a solicitor could help you with would be if you are approached by your employer’s insurance company with an offer of compensation for being electrocuted at work. Although such offers can be a fair and reasonable reflection on your injuries and how they have affected your quality of life, they are more widely known to be a cost-cutting measure carried out by the insurers to avoid paying the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. Your solicitor would be in a good position to evaluate the offer and to determine whether or not it is worth accepting.