How to Pursue a Compensation Claim for Chemical Injury at Work
This article explains some of the reasons why you might – or might not – qualify to make a compensation claim for chemical injury at work and the procedures you should follow after being injured by chemicals in an accident at work to support a work chemical injury claim for compensation.
A brief explanation of how to claim for chemical injuries in the workplace is also included; however, as no two claims for work chemical injuries are identical, it is always in your best interests to discuss the specific circumstances of your work injury with a solicitor at the earliest practical opportunity.
Your first priority should always be your health and, if you have not already done so, you should seek professional medical treatment for your chemical related injuries. No amount of work chemical accident compensation will ever make up for a long term health issue which could have been avoided by timely medical attention and, to support your claim for being injured by chemicals at work, you will need a doctor to complete the Injuries Board Medical Assessment Form B.
Claims for Chemical Injuries and the Duty of Care of Employers
In order to be eligible to pursue a compensation claim for chemical injury at work, you must have sustained a chemical injury which could have been prevented had your employer – or other person with responsibility for your health and safety – fulfilled his or her duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to perform your work duties.
An employer´s “duty of care” covers all his or her responsibilities to prevent injuries being sustained from chemicals wherever possible, and would include performing risk assessments to identify foreseeable hazards, providing training and supervision, and supplying personal protective equipment where necessary to eliminate the risk of an employee sustain a chemical injury at work.
Should an employer fail in their duty of care to eliminate the risk of an injury, and you are subsequently injured by chemicals as a result, you should be entitled to make a work chemical injury claim for compensation. It should be noted, however, that an employer´s duty of care is not “absolute” and, if you are injured in a chemical accident at work which could not have been foreseen, claims for work chemical injuries are unlikely to be successful.
How Your Employment Status May Affect a Claim
It is not often that your employment status will affect your entitlement to claim for chemical injuries in the workplace, but there may be occasions when agency workers, employees on short-term contracts or self-employed workers may have to make a claim for being injured by chemicals at work against somebody other than their direct employer – for example the owner of the premises on which the chemical injury was sustained.
Possibly of more concern if you have suffered injuries in an accident with chemicals at work is the fact that you do not want to fall out with your employer but, because of financial necessity, you need to make a claim for being injured by chemicals at work against their employer´s liability insurance policy. Most employers will be genuinely regretful that you have suffered chemical related injuries at work due to their negligence and will admit their liability; but there are some circumstances in which an employer will want to protect their insurance policy excess and dispute your work chemical accident compensation claim.
Procedures for Claiming Work Accident Compensation
The most routinely used procedure for claiming work chemical accident compensation is to submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board. Your application can be completed on a paper form or online, but must be submitted with a medical practitioner´s report detailing the injuries you sustained from the chemicals. Receipts for any expenses you have incurred which are directly attributable to your work chemical accident should also be attached to your application.
The Injuries Board´s role is only to assess how much compensation for your compensation claim for chemical injury at work you are entitled to, and not establish liability for the injuries you suffered. Therefore, the Injuries Board will write to your employer asking for consent to proceed with an assessment of your work chemical injury claim for compensation, and only continue once that consent has been received – effectively when your employer has admitted his or her liability for your injury from chemicals.
Thereafter you may have to undergo an independent medical examination to ascertain the severity of your chemical injuries and the Injuries Board will then send you and your employer a “Notice of Assessment” which – if both you and your employer agree to – is followed by an “Order to Pay” work chemical accident compensation. If either your employer denies his consent for the Injuries Board to assess your claim for being injured by chemicals at work, or neither party agrees on how much compensation for your compensation claim for chemical injury at work you are entitled to, the Injuries Board will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your claim for chemical injuries in the workplace through the courts.
How Much is a Claim for Being Injured by Chemicals at Work Worth?
The amount you will be entitled to receive for your compensation claim for chemical injury at work on the location will depend, nature and severity of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to the accident in which your chemical injury was suffered. Financial values for a variety of physical injuries can be found in the Book of Quantum, but these values only account for the physical pain and suffering you experience at the time of your chemical injuries and not for the “inconvenience of incapacity” that might result from a work accident with chemicals.
Claims for work chemical injuries should include compensation for the impact that your injuries have had on your ability to perform everyday domestic duties and your incapacity to partake in leisure pursuits or engage in an active social life. There is very little opportunity to account for this “loss of amenity” when making a claim for being injured by chemicals at work through the Injuries Board process, and this is a further reason why you should speak with solicitor with experience of making a claim for chemical injuries in the workplace – to ensure you receive your full entitlement to work chemical accident compensation.
The amounts you are claiming for expenses, lost income and any other costs you have incurred due to your chemical related injury are then added to the compensation values above to finalise how much your work chemical injury claim for compensation is worth. You may also be able to recover any legal costs you have incurred in pursuit of your claim for being injured by chemicals at work, fares paid to use alternative forms of transport if you are unable to drive and future medical costs if, for example, skin grafts are required in order that you make a full recovery from your injury.
Do I Need a Solicitor?
You do not need a solicitor in order to make claims for work chemical injuries, but it is often in your best interests to do so. In addition to acting as a go-between between yourself and your employer, and dealing with any complications that arise while making a claim for chemical injuries in the workplace, a solicitor has the experience to ensure you receive your full entitlement to work chemical accident compensation – whether your claim for being injured by chemicals at work is resolved via the Injuries Board, by negotiation with your employer´s insurers or through court action.
Most solicitors will offer a free assessment of your work chemical injury claim for compensation if you have sustained injuries in a work accident for which you were not entirely at fault, and provide you with answers to any questions you may have in regard to your eligibility to make a compensation claim for chemical injury at work. As it is often in your best interest to have evidence collected in support of your claim for chemical injuries in the workplace while it is still fresh, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of your chemical injury in a workplace accident without delay.