Is it possible to claim maintenance work injury compensation to recover medical expenses and lost earnings? Can my employer terminate my employment for making a claim for maintenance work injury compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Is it possible to claim maintenance work injury compensation to recover medical expenses and lost earnings? Can my employer terminate my employment for making a claim for maintenance work injury compensation?

Answer:

If you have genuinely been injured completing maintenance work and the accident in which you sustained your injury was directly or indirectly caused by negligence of your employer, you are within your rights to make a claim for maintenance work injury compensation. Even if you have been injured performing maintenance work by using faulty equipment, you are within your rights to make a claim. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005) an employer must ensure that the workplace is safe, and that employees can perform their work duties without being placed at an excessive risk of sustaining an injury.

Many employers do not pay sick pay to staff in Ireland and are under no obligation to do so. However when injuries prevent an employee from working which have been suffered due to an accident at work, lost earnings can be recovered from an employer through his liability insurance policy. When you make a claim for maintenance work injury compensation you will be entitled to claim for your injuries in addition to lost earnings, medical expenses and any other costs which have been incurred as a direct result of your injury. The purpose of claiming maintenance work injury compensation should be to ensure that you are in no worse a financial position than you would have been, were it not for your maintenance work accident.

No employer would want an employee to make a claim for compensation for a maintenance work injury against a liability insurance policy, as there will almost certainly be financial implications for them by doing so. Insurance costs are high in Ireland and there is often an excess on an insurance policy which must be covered by an employer. However very few employers would hold a grudge against a member of staff for making a valid claim, provided that the level of compensation that is claimed is justifiable and reasonable. Victimisation in the workplace for making a claim for personal injury compensation is fortunately rare in the case of a genuine injury being sustained in the workplace.

Termination of your employment on the grounds of making a claim against an employer would infringe your employee rights, and if this were to happen you would be within your rights to make a separate claim against your employer through the Labour Court for unfair dismissal. It is unlikely that an employer would risk this course of action, even if disgruntled about your claim for maintenance work injury compensation.

In order not to rock the boat at work unnecessarily, we recommend you speak with a personal injury solicitor about your case. It is important to confirm that you are eligible to claim maintenance work injury compensation, and to have the claim assessed to determine the likelihood of its success. Using a personal injury solicitor to purse a claim can also help to reduce awkward confrontations with an employer and can help to speed up the claims process.