I would like to know if my son can claim compensation for severe burns at work. He was electrocuted by a machine which should have been isolated from the power supply before he serviced it and he is finding it difficult to manage on the sick pay he receives.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I would like to know if my son can claim compensation for severe burns at work. He was electrocuted by a machine which should have been isolated from the power supply before he serviced it and he is finding it difficult to manage on the sick pay he receives.

Answer:

You son will be entitled to claim compensation for severe burns at work provided that it can be proven that it was not his responsibility to isolate the machine which caused his injury from the power supply or that he had not been instructed to do so. A compensation claim for severe burns at work has to demonstrate that your son´s employer – or other person with responsibility for health and safety in the workplace – was negligent, and that his or her breach in their duty of care was directly responsible for your son´s injury.

Employer negligence can manifest in many ways – from a lack of performing a risk assessment before a task in the workplace is undertaken to failing to provide adequate protection against injury. However, it is quite possible that in your son´s case inadequate training was responsible for his accident and that he should have checked to ensure the power supply was isolated, but had not been advised to do so by his employer or immediate supervisor – making the employer guilty of negligence and enabling your son to make a claim for compensation for severe burns at work.

You mention in your question that your son is finding it difficult to manage on the sick pay he receives. For this reason, it would be in your best interests to engage a solicitor to pursue a compensation claim for severe burns at work in tandem with making an application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland. This is because the Injuries Board Ireland will only start the assessment of your son´s claim for compensation for severe burns at work once they have received his employer´s consent to do so – effectively his admission of liability.

As your son´s employer has ninety days in which to inform the Injuries Board Ireland whether he consents or not to their assessment of your son´s compensation claim for severe burns, and then the Injuries Board Ireland has a further nine months in which to complete their assessment, it could be more than a year before your son receives a Euro of his compensation for severe burns settlement.

If a solicitor is used to pursue a claim for compensation for severe burns alongside the application to the Injuries Board Ireland, the solicitor can apply for interim payments of severe burns at work compensation as soon as liability for your son´s injuries is acknowledged by your employer. This means that your son will receive an additional income stream from the interim payments until such time as his claim for compensation for severe burns at work is resolved.

As it would appear that your son could do with the financial assistance sooner rather than later, it is recommended that he speak with an experienced work injury solicitor at the first practical opportunity.