How to Claim Compensation for Soft Tissue Injury at Work
This article explains some of the reasons why you may – or may not – qualify for compensation for soft tissue injury at work and the procedures you should follow after sustaining a soft tissue injury in an accident at work to support a work soft tissue injury claim for compensation.
A brief explanation of how to claim for injured soft tissue in work accident is also included; however, as no two claims for soft tissue injuries in the workplace 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 health should always be your first priority and, if you have not already done so, you should seek professional medical treatment for your soft tissue injury. No amount of compensation will ever make up for a long term health issue which could have been avoided by prompt medical treatment and, to support your claim for damage to soft tissue at work, you will need a doctor to complete the Injuries Board Medical Assessment Form B.
Claims for Soft Tissue Injuries in the Workplace and the Duty of Care of Employers
In order to be eligible to claim compensation for soft tissue injury at work, you must have sustained a soft tissue injury which could have been prevented had a person with responsibility for your health and safety – fulfilled his or her legal duty of care to provide you with a safe environment in which to work.
An employer´s “duty of care” covers all his or her obligations to prevent injuries in the workplace wherever possible, and would include performing risk assessments to identify foreseeable hazards, providing training and supervision, and supplying personal protective equipment where necessary to remove the risk of an employee suffering a soft tissue injury at work.
Should an employer fail in their duty of care to eliminate the risk of an injury, and you subsequently sustain damage to soft tissue as a result, you should be entitled to make a work soft tissue injury claim for compensation. It should be noted, however, that an employer´s duty of care is not “absolute” and, if the accident at work in which your injuries were sustained could not have been foreseen, claims for soft tissue injuries in the workplace are unlikely to be successful.
Reporting Soft Tissue Work Accidents
It is important that your soft tissue injury recorded in your employer´s “Accident Report Book”. Although a copy of this report is not sent to the Injuries Board when applying for an assessment of compensation for soft tissue injury at work, reporting an accident in the workplace may initiate a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) investigation which could establish your employer´s liability in your claim for damage to soft tissue at work.
If liability can be established before making claims for soft tissue injuries in the workplace, it should speed up the Injuries Board process or may enable a solicitor acting on your behalf to negotiate a compensation settlement without the need for witness statements or photographic evidence of your employer´s negligence.
If your soft tissue injury is so severe that you are unable to report your workplace accident – or your employer fails to give you access to the Accident Report Book – you should speak with a solicitor. Injured soft tissue work 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 simpler for a solicitor to generate a report on your behalf and then use it in support of a work soft tissue injury claim for compensation.
Procedures for Claiming Work Injury Compensation
The most regularly used procedure for claiming compensation is to submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland. Your application can be completed on a paper form or online, but must be submitted with a medical practitioner´s report detailing your damaged soft tissue injury and receipts for any expenses you have incurred which are directly attributable to your accident at work should also be attached to your application.
The Injuries Board´s role is only to measure how much compensation for soft tissue injury at work you are entitled to, and not to establish liability for your soft tissue injury. Therefore, the Injuries Board will write to your employer asking for consent to proceed with an assessment of your work soft tissue injury claim for compensation, and only continue once that consent has been received – effectively when your employer has admitted his liability for your damaged soft tissue injury.
You may also have to undergo an independent medical examination to ascertain the severity of your soft tissue injury 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” compensation. If either your employer denies his or her consent for the Injuries Board to assess your claim for damage to soft tissue at work, or neither party agrees on how much compensation for soft tissue injury at work you are entitled to, the Injuries Board will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your claim for injured soft tissue in work accident through the courts.
How the Statute of Limitations affects a Work Soft Tissue Injury Claim for Compensation
The Courts and Civil Liability Act 2004 set a limitation period of two years for making claims for soft tissue injuries in the workplace from the “Date of Knowledge” on which the injury is diagnosed. There are very few situations in which a plaintiff would be unaware that they have sustained damage to soft tissue in an accident at work and therefore the two year limitation period for making a work soft tissue injury claim for compensation would usually start on the day of your accident.
Two years may seem ample time in which to submit a claim for injured soft tissue in work accident to the Injuries Board for assessment but, if liability for your soft tissue injury is rejected, or you are waiting for the results of an HSA investigation to confirm your employer´s liability in a claim for damage to soft tissue at work, the time can slip quickly by.
If the full extent of your injury is not yet fully known, or due to complications it is taking a long time to recover from your soft tissue work accident and impossible to calculate how much compensation you are entitled to, it is possible to “stop the clock” on your claim for compensation for soft tissue 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 soft tissue injury – and this is something which is once again best done with the assistance of a personal injury claims solicitor.
How to Get Legal Advice
You do not need a solicitor in order to make claims for soft tssue injuries in the workplace, 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 injured soft tissue in work accident, a solicitor has the experience to ensure you receive your full entitlement to compensation for your soft tissue injury – whether your claim for damage to soft tissue 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 soft tissue injury claim for compensation if you have sustained a soft tissue injury in the workplace 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 soft tissue injury at work. It is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of your soft tissue injury in a work accident without delay, as it is often in your best interest to have evidence collected in support of your claim for injured soft tissue in work accident while it is still fresh.