Introduction to Factory Accident Compensation
A claim for factory accident compensation can be one of the most difficult personal injury claims to handle correctly. It potentially includes issues surrounding your health, your future financial security, your relationship with your workplace colleagues and the integrity of your employer. To overlook any element of a factory accident compensation claim could result in your claim being under-settled and leave you with insufficient factory accident compensation to pay for medical care or support your family.
For this reason, it is always in your advisable to seek independent, professional legal advice. Inasmuch as the text below gives an overview of the procedures for making a factory accident claim for compensation – and some of the obstacles you may encounter – no two claims for factory accident compensation are identical, even when the injuries sustained are similar. The circumstances surrounding your factory accident compensation claim may not be unique, but it is more than likely that the consequences of your injury will be.
Your Wellbeing comes before Compensation for a Factory Accident
When you are hurt in a factory accident, your wellbeing must take priority over considering compensation for a factory accident. If you suffered a major injury in a factory accident, common sense would have told you to go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital or an ambulance would have been summoned to take you there. However some people have in the past worked through the pain or relied on the first aid facilities provided at work to tend to their injuries.
Not only is it essential for the good of your health that you undergo a professional medical examination at the first possible opportunity, but also necessary if you wish to pursue a factory accident compensation claim. Without the Medical Assessment Form (Form B) you will be unable to make a claim for a factory accident to the Injuries Board Ireland and, should you delay a visit to your doctor, your employer – or more likely his or her insurance company – could claim that you contributed to the severity of your injuries by your own lack of care in the intervening period.
Qualifying for Factory Accident Compensation
Accidents in the workplace happen for many different reasons, and not all of them will qualify for factory accident compensation. To be eligible to claim compensation for a factory accident, it has to be proven that your injuries were attributable to a lack of care by your employer or other person in the factory who had a position of responsibility for providing you with a safe environment in which to work.
There are many areas in which an employer has responsibility for your health and safety – starting with a risk assessment of the hazards presented by the job assigned to you and your ability to complete the job safely. The maintenance of machinery, training, supervision and the monitoring of your performance to a high standard are just some of the tasks which an employer should complete to ensure the risk of factory accidents is minimised.
Your employer is also obliged to advise you of any risks associated with your job before you start, provide you with suitable personal protective equipment in good condition to safeguard against a personal injury and ensure that you use it. Should your employer, any other person with a responsibility for your health and safety at work or one of your workplace colleagues cause you to sustain an injury in a factory accident through negligence or a breach in their duty of care, you should qualify for factory accident compensation.
In the majority of claims, your employment status will not affect your entitlement to factory accident compensation. Agency workers, employees on short-term contracts and workers who are self-employed are all owed the same duty of care when working in a factory. Your injury at work rights are rarely affected by your employment status, but if you would like confirmation that you qualify for factory accident compensation you should speak with a solicitor as soon as possible.
How to Proceed with a Claim for a Factory Accident
Once it has been established that an injury sustained in a factory accident was due the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care, there are certain procedures that should be followed to support your claim for a factory accident. If you are able, you should write a report of how your injury was sustained in your employer´s “Accident Report Book” and keep a copy for yourself. This report enables you to give your version of how the accident in the factory occurred and what caused it.
Your employer then has a duty to report your accident and injury to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 1993 if the injuries from your factory accident fall into certain categories or result in an absence from work of more than three days. As this may lead to a health and safety investigation by the HSA, some employers need encouragement to fulfil this part of their obligations.
Although the findings of an HSA investigation could strongly support a factory accident compensation claim, you should not wait until an investigation has been initiated before proceeding with a claim for a factory accident. There are certain actions you can take yourself to increase the likelihood of a swift and satisfactory conclusion provided these do not place you at risk of further injury. These include taking photographs of the scene of your accident in the factory, compiling a list of colleagues who witnessed how you came to be injured and finding out if accidents similar to yours had happened previously in the factory.
This information will may not be required on the Application for Assessment of Damages (Form A) which is submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland but, as you will see below, it could enable you to receive a full settlement of factory injury compensation long before the Injuries Board Ireland has concluded its assessment of your claim. As some or all of the procedures above may be impossible for you to achieve, it is always worthwhile discussing the best ways to supporting a factory accident compensation claim with a factory accident compensation solicitor.
Making a Factory Accident Compensation Claim
One of the main benefits of engaging the services of a factory accident compensation solicitor is that he or she will be familiar with the procedures for making an application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland in order that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. However your solicitor can also make an approach to your employer´s insurers with proof of their client´s negligence and asking for an offer of settlement.
If your employer denies his liability for your injuries – either to the Injuries Board Ireland or your solicitor – or claims that you contributed to either the cause of the accident or the extent of your injuries by your own lack of care, your solicitor will still try to obtain a negotiated factory accident compensation settlement with your employer´s insurers; but the likelihood is that – once an Authorisation has been received from the Injuries Board Ireland – your solicitor will be forced to issue court proceedings.
Quite often, the issuing of court proceedings is sufficient to prompt an out-of-court settlement of factory accident compensation and, in most factory accident compensation claims, court action is not necessary. Your solicitor will have already prepared the strongest possible case on your behalf and, should your case be presented at court, all that a judge should have to do is confirm liability for your injuries and make a judgement on how much compensation for a factory accident you will receive.
Please note that during any period of negotiation an offer of settlement may be made by either party but, as you will see below, these offers should often be treated with caution.
How Much Compensation for a Factory Accident Will I Get?
How much compensation for a factory accident you will be entitled to is calculated by taking four main areas of compensation into consideration. Each is assessed individually depending on your particular personal circumstances, and all may not apply to your factory accident claim for compensation.
General Damages for Physical Injury
How much compensation for a factory accident injury you will be entitled to for the pain and suffering experienced at the time of your accident and throughout your recovery will be based on figures published in the Book of Quantum. The suggested figures will be adjusted to account for the severity and extent of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to the accident in the factory to produce a total amount of general damages for physical injury.
General Damages for Emotional Injury
General damages for emotional injury will only apply if you have been diagnosed with a psychological trauma which is directly attributable to your factory accident and injury. This could be a post traumatic stress disorder due to the circumstances of a horrific factory accident; you may have developed a fear of heights after a fall from an elevated platform in the factory or become quantifiably depressed during your recovery due to a lack of mobility.
General Damages for Loss of Amenity
The term “Loss of Amenity” relates to the loss of your independence after your accident in the factory if your injuries prevent you from performing day-to-day activities. Factory accident compensation to account for any deterioration in your quality of life, missed social events, holidays and hobbies that you are unable to participate in, can all be included in general damages for loss of amenity.
Special Damages for Financial Loss
Factory accident compensation special damages will account for any financial expenses you have incurred which are due to your factory accident. Any costs for medical treatment, fares when using alternate forms of transport while you are unable to drive and the financial loss of missed social events and holidays can all be included in special damages for financial loss – along with factory accident compensation for any loss of earnings, missed overtime, missed bonus payments and pension contributions.
The “value” of at least two of these areas may not be fully known until sometime after your factory accident and it may in some cases be necessary to delay the resolution of your factory injury claim. If short term finance becomes an issue, please discuss with your solicitor the possibility of applying for interim payments of factory accident compensation.
How Contributory Negligence can change a Claim for Factory Accident Injury Compensation
How much compensation for a factory accident you are entitled to receive can also be negatively affected by contributory negligence. The term “contributory negligence” refers to the contribution you made to the cause of the accident in the factory or extent of your injuries. If you are not at all to blame for your factory accident and injury, you will receive 100 percent of your factory accident compensation. If you are considered to be 25 percent at fault for the cause of your accident or severity of your injury, you will receive 75 percent of your entitlement to factory accident compensation but, should you be found more than 50 percent liable for your injuries, it may not be worth your while to pursue a claim for factory accident compensation.
You can be found responsible for your injuries due to your own lack of care if:-
- You neglected to follow instructions given to you by a person with responsibility for your health and safety
- You neglected to report a faulty machine or piece of equipment whose subsequent failure was the cause of your injuries
- You neglected to visit a hospital or doctor after your accident, and there was an unjustifiable delay in the receipt of treatment
Depending on the job you were employed to do prior to your factory accident, there may be other examples of how contributory negligence can change a claim for factory accident compensation. If you feel that you may have contributed to the cause of the accident in the factory or the extent of your injuries by your contributory negligence, you should bring it to the attention of your factory accident claims solicitor at the first possible moment. Any claims for factory accident compensation which are submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland for assessment will be declined if your employer does not accept full responsibility for the injuries from your factory accident.
Offers of Factory Accident Compensation Settlements
In Ireland, it is not compulsory to have employer´s liability insurance, but most factories have some form of insurance cover to protect themselves against claims for factory accident compensation. Consequently, a solicitor handling your factory accident claim will more often than not deal with your employer´s insurance company; enabling both you and your employer to maintain a distance from negotiations.
However, there are occasions when your employer´s insurance company may approach you directly with an offer of factory accident compensation which is offered in return for a quick payment. You should be aware that these offers of factory accident compensation are rarely calculated with the same precision and consideration as a solicitor acting on your behalf would prepare, and it is possible that you could inadvertently accept a lesser amount of compensation for a factory accident than you are entitled to.
Once the error has been made, you cannot go back to your employer´s insurance company and ask for more should the settlement of factory accident compensation be inadequate for your needs. Therefore, you should always refer any offer of factory accident compensation that you receive directly to your solicitor and – as mentioned above – if short term finances are an issue for you, your solicitor should be able to arrange interim payments of factory accident compensation until such time as your factory accident claim is fully resolved.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Factory Accident Claim?
In Ireland, a factory accident claim for compensation has to be made within two years from the date you were diagnosed with an injury resulting from a factory accident. For many people, the two years will start from the date on which their accident in the factory occurred; but for some, the diagnosis of a factory injury may not be made until certain symptoms manifest or an injury which was initially thought to be minor develops into something more significant.
Although two years may seem like plenty of time in which to make a claim for factory accident compensation, issues such as claims of contributory negligence, the reluctance of work colleagues to provide testimony and a protracted HSA investigation can quickly eat into the time available in which to prepare and file a factory accident compensation claim. The possibility of unforeseeable delays is yet another reason why you should not hesitate to contact a factory accident claims solicitor at the first practical opportunity.
Factory Accident Compensation Recommendations
On this page we have focused mostly on injuries sustained in a physical factory accident. Other injuries can be sustained in a factory environment which are due to prolonged exposure to hazardous substances or repetitive movements. These injuries can be just as life-changing as the most serious fall from height or machinery accident, and a claim for factory accident compensation can be equally as difficult.
Factory accident compensation claims are often sensitive and protracted, and should not be attempted without the assistance of an experienced factory accident claims solicitor. From our “How Much Compensation” section you should be able to understand why no two claims for factory accident compensation are identical, and injury settlements examples provided by well-meaning friends and family – or which are published on the Internet – are no reflection on how much compensation for a factory accident you may be entitled to claim.
Each claim for factory accident compensation is prepared on its own merits and, inasmuch as the text on this page may have provided you with useful information – or answered many of the questions you may have had – it is no substitute for seeking independent professional legal advice from an experienced factory accident claims solicitor – ideally at your first possible opportunity.