I want to make a claim for a broken finger at work that was caused by a faulty machine guard. My employer is claiming he was unaware of the fault so he cannot be held responsible for my injury. Does this mean I will not be able to claim compensation?
Your employer is partly correct, as in order to make a successful claim for a broken finger at work it must be established and proven that your employer knew about the faulty machine guard and failed to make repairs, thus placing you at an excessive risk of sustaining an injury.
However it is also possible to make broken finger work accident claims if you can establish that your employer should have been aware that the machine guard was faulty under the circumstances. Your employer has a legal responsibility to make sure the workplace is safe, which involves conducting risk assessments on a periodic basis to identify potential hazards that could cause an employee to sustain an injury. Machinery must be regularly checked, and safety features monitored for faults and damage caused by wear and tear.
Although your employer has a responsibility under government health and safety legislation to minimise accident risks at work, employees also have responsibilities towards their own personal safety and that of their co-workers. If you were aware of the faulty machine guard and failed to inform your employer, and continued to work in spite of the increased risk of injury, there is a possibility that you will also be considered to have been negligent and partly responsible for having broke a finger in an accident at work. Your ‘contributory negligence’ could reduce the amount of compensation you would be entitled to recover. When there is contributory negligence, the Injuries Board would not agree to assess a claim for having broke a finger in an accident at work
Additionally, since your employer is maintaining that he is not liable for the accident there is a chance that consent will not be given to Injuries Board to assess your broken finger work accident claims. If consent is not provided to the Injuries Board to assess your claim for a broken finger at work, you would be issued with an authorisation to take your case to the Irish courts to be decided. To proceed with a claim, you would need to employ a personal injury solicitor to prepare your claim for litigation.
It is therefore important to seek legal advice about making a claim against your employer, and to involve a solicitor in your case as soon as possible. A solicitor will ensure that, should your case have to go to court to be decided, the strongest possible case is prepared and a good body of evidence is collected to support your claim. Your solicitor will also provide assistance with the preparation of the claim forms and will ensure that special damages are accurately calculated, and include every cost and expense which you are entitled to recover.