How to Claim Compensation for Manual Handling Injury at Work
This article explains some of the reasons why you might – or might not – qualify for compensation for manual handling injury at work and the procedures you should follow after being injured in an accident at work to support a work manual handling injury compensation.
A brief explanation of how to claim for injury from manual handling is also included; however, as no two claims for workplace manual handling 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 manual handling workplace injury. No amount of work manual handling 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 injury sustained from manual handling, you will need a doctor to complete the Injuries Board Medical Assessment Form B.
Claims for Workplace Manual Handling Injuries and the Duty of Care of Employers
In order to be eligible to claim compensation for manual handling injury at work, you must have sustained an 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 manual handling duties.
An employer´s “duty of care” covers all his or her responsibilities to prevent manual handling injuries 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 sustaining an injury at work.
Should an employer fail in their duty of care to eliminate the risk of an injury, and you are subsequently injured as a consequence, you should be entitled to make a work manual handling injury compensation. It should be noted, however, that an employer´s duty of care is not “absolute” and, if your injury was sustained in an accident at work which could not have been predicted, claims for workplace manual handling injuries are unlikely to be successful.
Reporting Manual Handling Work Accidents
It is important that your work accident is recorded in your employer´s “Accident Report Book”, for although a copy of this report is not sent to the Injuries Board when applying for an assessment of compensation for manual handling injury at work, reporting a work accident may initiate a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) investigation which could establish your employer´s liability in your claim for injury sustained from manual handling.
If liability can be established before making claims for workplace manual handling injuries, it should speed up the Injuries Board process or may enable a solicitor acting on your behalf to negotiate a settlement of work manual handling accident compensation without the need for witness statements or photographic evidence of your employer´s negligence.
If your manual handling injury is so severe that you are unable to report your accident – or your employer fails to give you access to the Accident Report Book – you should speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity. Workplace accidents can be reported online at the HSA web site, but you will need an approval code to use the service and it may be a lot more straightforward for a solicitor to generate a report on your behalf and then use it in support of a work manual handling injury compensation.
How Much is a Claim for Injury Sustained from Manual Handling Worth?
How much compensation for manual handling injury at work you will be eligible for depends on the location, nature and severity of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to the accident at work in which you were injured. Financial values for manual handling 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 injury and not for the “inconvenience of incapacity” that might result from a manual handling work injury.
Claims for workplace manual handling injuries should include compensation for the impact that your injury has on your ability to perform everyday domestic tasks and your incapacity to participate in leisure activities or enjoy an active social life. There is very little opportunity to account for this “loss of amenity” when making a claim for injury sustained from manual handling through the Injuries Board process, and this is a further reason why you should speak with solicitor with experience of making a claim for injury from manual handling – to ensure you receive your full entitlement to work manual handling accident compensation.
The amounts for expenses, lost income and any other costs that you are claiming for are then added to the compensation values above to finalise how much your work manual handling injury compensation is worth. You may also be able to recover any legal costs you have incurred in pursuit of your claim for injury sustained from manual handling, fares paid to use alternative forms of transport if you are unable to drive and future medical costs if, for example, physiotherapy is required in order that you make a full recovery from your manual handling injury.
Insurance Companies and Unsolicited Offers of Compensation
You should always speak with a solicitor if you are directly approached by an insurance company with an unsolicited offer of work manual handling accident compensation. Insurers are often made aware of manual handling at work accidents when a report is made in the employer´s “Accident Report Book”, and may make an approach even before you have considered making a claim for injury sustained from manual handling.
The purpose of the insurance company´s approach is to reduce how much compensation for manual handling injury at work they will have to pay you. Even if you are concerned about your short-term finances, you should refrain from accepting an insurance company´s unsolicited offer of work accident injury compensation until you have discussed your claim for injury from manual handling with a solicitor.
By their approach, the insurance company has effectively admitted your employer´s liability for the injury you suffered at work, and your solicitor will be able to engage in direct negotiations with the insurance company to obtain a full and satisfactory settlement of your work manual handling injury compensation – organising interim payments until the claim is resolved if necessary.
How the Statute of Limitations affects Work Manual Handling Injury Compensation
The Courts and Civil Liability Act 2004 set a limitation period of two years for making claims for workplace manual handling injuries from the “Date of Knowledge” on which the injury is diagnosed. There are very few instances in which a plaintiff would be unaware that they have suffered damage to their health in a manual handling accident at work and therefore the two year limitation period for making a work manual handling injury compensation would usually start on the day of your accident.
Two years may seem ample time in which to submit a claim for injury from manual handling to the Injuries Board for assessment but, if liability for your manual handling injury is denied, or you are waiting for the results of an HSA investigation to confirm your employer´s liability in a claim for injury sustained from manual handling, the time can slip by quickly.
If the full extent of your injury is not known, or due to complications it is taking a long time to recover from your work accident and impossible to calculate how much work manual handling accident compensation you are entitled to, it is possible to “stop the clock” on your claim for compensation for manual handling injury at work. You will need the agreement of your employer´s insurance company to do this – assuming your employer has admitted liability for your manual handling injury – and this is something which is once again best done with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor.
Always Get Legal Advice From a Solicitor
Although you do not need a solicitor in order to make claims for workplace manual handling injuries, 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 injury from manual handling, a solicitor has the experience to ensure you receive your full entitlement to work manual handling accident compensation – whether your claim for injury sustained from manual handling is resolved via the Injuries Board, by negotiation with your employer´s insurers or through court action.
Most solicitors will offer an initial assessment of your work manual handling injury compensation free of charge if you have sustained an injury in work accident for which you were not entirely to blame, and provide you with answers to any questions you may have in regard to your eligibility to claim compensation for manual handling injury at work. As it is often in your best interest to have evidence assembled in support of your claim for injury from manual handling while it is still fresh, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of your manual handling injury from a work accident without delay.