When you are working in any environment, your employer has a legal obligation to protect you from danger. This is never more relevant than when you are in an industry where there is a risk of a burn injury – whether it is from electricity, chemicals, heat, cold, or other thermal conductor.
Before work burn compensation claims can be made, there are two criteria which have to be fulfilled – that you have actually sustained an injury and that your injury was due to the negligence or lack of care of your employer.
Types of Work Burn Injuries
The most common types of work burn injuries are due to faulty electrical equipment. These not only give you a shock, but can leave you with burn injuries on your skin and have the potential to damage the eye, heart, nervous system and internal organs.
Chemical work burn injuries also account for many work burn compensation claims despite stringent regulations being in place to protect employees working with acids, oils and corrosives as well as other alkaline substances.
Ironically, very few work burn compensation claims originate from industries where employees work with direct heat sources, such as welding and construction, although it is estimated that 5% of all workplace fatalities are burns related and 25% of all hospital admissions are due to an injury at work.
Liability for Work Burn Injuries
Sometimes liability for work burns injuries lies with the injured individual who has taken a risk or not followed instructions correctly. However, when an employer has failed to provide protective clothing, adequate training or failed to adhere to the safety regulations laid down in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, you are entitled to make work burns compensation claims.
It is always helpful in work burns compensation claims if you are able to gather details of witnesses who saw your accident happen or who have knowledge of your type of injury being sustained before – but you should not make this your priority over getting appropriate medical attention. Your employer should have an accident report book in which your work burns injury should be recorded. You should get a copy of this report to support your claim for work burns compensation.
Compensation for Work Burn Injuries
Compensation for work burn injuries has to be claimed from the Injuries Board Ireland. They assess work burn compensation claims based on the severity of the injury and how long it will take to heal. However, there is a very good reason for using the services of an experienced personal injury claims solicitor when making work burn compensation claims – and that is to ensure that you receive all the special damages you are entitled to.
Special damages cover additional financial costs you incur due to your injury. Costs such as travelling to and from a medical centre, any expenses for treatment or medicines, and the cost of remedial plastic surgery if the burn has left an unsightly scar which you want hidden. Special damages will also include any loss of earnings you suffer should you have to take unpaid leave from work because of your injury.
Legal Advice for Work Burn Injuries
An experienced personal injury claims solicitor will also be able to advise you should your employer deny his liability for your injuries or claim that you contributed to them by your own negligence – reasons for the Injuries Board Ireland to decline work burn compensation claims and issue you with an authorisation to pursue your case through the courts. Litigation could also be required if the Injuries Board Ireland assessment is unacceptable to you or disputed by your employer.
You should also consult with an experienced personal injury claims solicitor if you are approached by your employer´s insurance company with an offer of early work burn compensation claims settlement. Frequently these offers are much lower than would be assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland, and offered in return for a quick payment. In these cases, the intervention of a solicitor can often result in a more appropriate negotiated settlement.
Work Burns Compensation Claims Summary
- Burns acquired in the workplace can be acquired from a number of hazardous substances and should be treated immediately
- Professional medical treatment should still be sought to avoid complications and the burned area getting infected
- An entry should be made in the employer´s “Accident Report Book” and witnesses sought to confirm that the injury was due to negligence
- Using the services of an experienced personal injury claims solicitor will ensure that you receive all the special damages you are entitled to
- A solicitor will also be able to provide guidance if the Injuries Board Ireland is unable to adequately resolve your claim or you are approached by an insurance company
Using the services of an experienced personal injury claims solicitor may also avoid the potential for an awkward workplace confrontation on your return to work, for although most employers would be horrified that one of their employees has sustained a serious injury due to their negligence, many would be equally aghast that they are the subject of work burns compensation claims.
Copyright © 2009-2015 Eoin Campbell
About the Author
Eoin P. Campbell is an honours law graduate (LL.B) and qualified solicitor whose primary professional experience is in the area of litigation and in particular personal injury claims. Eoin P. Campbell is currently lecturing in law at two universities in Lyon, France.