Employees are protected by copious legislation and almost all injuries sustained whilst in the workplace can result in a successful work accident compensation claim. Accidents at work account for some of the most serious injuries including brain damage, paraplegia and fatalities.
The most common cause of death in a work environment results from falls from height with most serious injuries relating to accidents involving works vehicles including mobile plant and machinery, with fork lift truck accidents being a particular cause for concern. Falling objects and objects ejected from machinery are frequent causes of brain damage.
The severity of these incidents does not mean that employers can become complacent in regards to less serious ailments and back injuries sustained at work account for more days absence than all other causes added together. In addition there are often serious leg, ankle and wrist injuries caused as a result of tripping and slipping on liquids and debris left on the floor of the workplace.
Health & Safety Law
Without going into the detailed law, it is incumbent on an employer to take care of the health and safety of the workforce. Failure to do so, which results in personal injury will leave the employer liable to pay compensation for personal injury in a work accident compensation claim. Employers must ensure that they operate a safe system of work, with adequate safety training and instruction on how to properly use equipment and machinery. In addition all equipment must be adequately maintained and suitable for the particular task that it is being used for.
Premises should be kept in good condition and all walkways, workspaces and access and egress should be free of debris including spilt liquids. An employer is also expected to provide adequate protective safety equipment and to carry out a detailed risk assessment for all tasks that might be expected to carry even the slightest risk of injury. All employers must by law have a valid ‘certificate of employers liability insurance’ and in the event of a work accident compensation claim it is the insurers that will shoulder the responsibility of settling any financial award.
If you have an accident in the workplace that causes personal injury and you intend to start a work accident compensation claim for damages you should do everything you can to acquire and preserve evidence. Take the names and addresses of any witnesses; take photographs of the location, the injuries and any offending vehicles or equipment. Insist and ensure that the matter is written clearly in the company accident book which you should inspect and take a copy of the entry. Preserve all clothing and shoes and freeze any perishable items that may have caused a slip.
If you have been injured and intend starting a work accident compensation claim there are time limits that must be considered. In general terms an accident claim must be either settled or legal proceedings must have been issued within three years of the incident causing the injury or the opportunity to claim compensation may be lost forever.
Time does not start to run until a potential claimant reaches the age of 18 years expiring on the eve of the 21st birthday. In some claims for damages for industrial disease there is a long latency period between exposure and the symptoms of the illness becoming apparent and in those cases the three year period does not start running until positive diagnosis is made, or should have been made with the exercise of reasonable diligence.