Can I claim factory trip injury compensation after tripping over a box left in a doorway by a delivery company? My manager told me I cannot claim compensation against the factory as it was nothing to do with them.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Can I claim factory trip injury compensation after tripping over a box left in a doorway by a delivery company? My manager told me I cannot claim compensation against the factory as it was nothing to do with them.

Answer:

Your manager may be correct in saying that you cannot claim factory trip injury compensation against your employer; although this does not mean that you are not entitled to claim compensation for your injuries. A factory trip injury compensation claim should be possible provided that you sustained an injury which was severe enough to warrant seeking medical attention, although the claim may need to be made against the delivery company rather than your employer. Leaving boxes or other hazards in walkways and thoroughfares represents a serious trip hazard and can be considered to be negligence on the part of the delivery driver.

However, cases such as this may not be quite so straightforward and the delivery company may contest any claim for factory trip injury compensation. Although the delivery driver should not have left the boxes in a location where they could be a trip hazard, it may be the member of staff who accepted the delivery who is guilty of negligence. Deliveries are usually signed for on receipt and, by signing and accepting the delivery, the recipient takes ownership of the boxes and they become their responsibility.

If the delivery had been signed for by a member of staff at the factory and ownership transferred, a claim for trip injury compensation will more than likely have to be made against your employer for failing to maintain a safe working environment. Your employer is legally bound to keep doorways and walkways free from hazards under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005) and should have created a designated area for deliveries to be deposited, advised his or her employees of the designated area and ensured that the designated area was used exclusively for the delivery of packages and boxes.

Signing for boxes and leaving them in an area where they posed a trip risk to staff would be negligence on the part of the member of staff who signed for the delivery – and, by proxy, your employer. If this was the case, it will be your employer’s insurance company who will be liable to pay factory trip injury compensation unless you personally signed for the boxes.

Regardless of where the blame for the accident lies, it is vital that the accident is recorded in your employer´s ‘Accident Book’. The Accident Book contains a permanent record of any accident which occurs at a place of your work, and an accident book report is necessary when making a claim for factory trip injury compensation. This will be used alongside your medical records as proof that the accident occurred in your place of work and that you sustained a personal injury in the accident. For specific legal advice on how to make factory trip injury compensation claims and for assistance with establishing the negligent third party you should speak with a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible.