How to Claim Injury Compensation for Burn at Work
This article explains some of the reasons why you might – or might not – be entitled to injury compensation for burn at work and the procedures you should follow after being burned in an accident at work to support a work burn injury compensation claim.
A brief explanation of how to claim for burns sustained at work is also included; however, as no two claims for burns from work accident are identical, it is always in your best interests to discuss the specific circumstances of your work burn 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 burns. No amount of workplace burn compensation will ever make up for a long term health issue which could have been prevented by prompt medical attention and, to support your claim for being burned at work, you will need a doctor to complete the Injuries Board Medical Assessment Form B.
Claims for Burns from Work Accident and the Duty of Care of Employers
In order to be eligible to claim injury compensation for burn at work, you must have sustained burns which could have been avoided had your employer – or other 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 perform your work duties.
An employer´s “duty of care” covers all his or her responsibilities to prevent burn 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 burns at work.
Should an employer fail in their duty of care to eradicate the risk of an injury, and you subsequently suffered burns as a result, you should be entitled to make a work burn injury compensation claim. It should be noted, however, that an employer´s duty of care is not “absolute” and, if the accident at work in which you were burned could not have been foreseen, claims for burns from work accident are unlikely to be successful.
Reporting Workplace Accidents
It is essential that your work accident is 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 injury compensation for burn 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 being burned at work.
If liability can be established before making claims for burns from work accident, it should speed up the Injuries Board process or may enable a solicitor acting on your behalf to negotiate a settlement of workplace burn compensation without the need for witness statements or photographic evidence of your employer´s negligence.
If your burn injuries are so severe that you are unable to report your accident at work – or your employer fails to give you access to the Accident Report Book – you should speak with a solicitor. 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 easier for a solicitor to file a report on your behalf and then use it in support of a work burn injury compensation claim.
Procedures for Claiming Workplace Burn Compensation
The most commonly performed procedure for claiming workplace burn 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 burn injury and receipts for any expenses you have incurred which are directly attributable to your burn accident at work should also be attached to your application.
The Injuries Board´s role is only to assess how much injury compensation for burn at work you are entitled to, and not to determine liability for your burns. Therefore, the Injuries Board will write to your employer asking for consent to proceed with an assessment of your work burn injury compensation claim, and only continue once that consent has been received – effectively when your employer has admitted his liability for your burn injury.
Thereafter you may be expected to undergo an independent medical examination to ascertain the severity of your burns 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” workplace burn compensation. If either your employer denies his consent for the Injuries Board to assess your claim for being burned at work, or neither party agrees on how much injury compensation for burn at work you are entitled to, the Injuries Board will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your claim for burns sustained at work through the courts.
How Much is a Claim for Being Burned at Work Worth?
How much injury compensation for burn at work you will be entitled to receive will be influenced by the location, nature and severity of your injury in relation to your age, sex and general state of health prior to the accident in which your burns were sustained. Financial values assigned to burn injuries 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 being burned at work.
Claims for burns from work accident should include compensation for the impact that your injury has on your ability to complete day to day domestic tasks and your inability to participate in leisure or social pursuits. There is very little opportunity to account for this “loss of amenity” when making a claim for being burned 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 burns sustained at work – to ensure you receive your full entitlement to workplace burn compensation.
Expenses, lost income and any other costs you have incurred due to your burns are then added to the compensation values above to finalise how much your work burn injury compensation claim is worth. You may also be able to recover any legal costs you have incurred in pursuit of your claim for being burned 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 burns.
Contributory Negligence and Burned at Work Accidents
One reason why consent to assess your claim for burns sustained at work may be withheld from the Injuries Board is if you are considered to have been partly responsible for the cause of the workplace accident or the extent of your injury as the Injuries Board will only assess claims for burns from work accident in which total liability is admitted. If you have contributed to your burn injury, the Injuries Board will have no option but to issue you with an authorisation to pursue your work burn injury compensation claim in court.
Court action may be a last resort when making a claim for being burned at work, as it may also be possible to negotiate a settlement with your employer´s liability insurers where you accept a percentage responsibility for your burns and that percentage is then deducted from how much injury compensation for burn at work your claim is settled for. It must be said that negotiating the value of workplace burn compensation directly with an insurance company is not a good idea without legal representation.
One element of contributory negligence which is sometimes overlooked is if you contributed to the extent of your injury by a neglect to seek immediate professional medical attention. Some people who sustain injuries at work foolishly attempt to persevere through the pain – making their injury worse and jeopardising their entitlement to injury compensation for burn at work; if this has happened to you, you should speak with a solicitor about whether you still have a claim for burns sustained at work which is worth your while to pursue.
Unsolicited Offers of Compensation from Insurance Companies
You should always speak with a solicitor if you receive a direct approach from an insurance company with an unsolicited offer of workplace burn compensation. As insurance companies are often made aware of work accidents when a report is made in the employer´s “Accident Report Book”, they may make a compensation proposal even before you have considered making a claim for being burned at work.
The purpose of the insurance company´s approach is to reduce how much injury compensation for burn at work they will have to pay you, and they have been successful enough times in tempting plaintiffs with an offer which would result in a quick settlement to keep on trying these approaches. Even if you are concerned about your short-term finances, you should refrain from accepting an insurance company´s unsolicited offer of compensation until you have referred the offer and discussed your claim for burns sustained at work with an experienced personal injury claims solicitor.
By their approach, the insurance company has effectively admitted your employer´s liability for your workplace injury, 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 burn injury compensation claim – and can even arrange for interim payments until the claim is resolved if necessary.
Always Check With a Solicitor
It is often in your best interests to engage a solicitor when making claims for burns from work accident, despite the fact that you do not need a solicitor in order 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 burns sustained at work, a solicitor has the experience to ensure you receive your full entitlement to workplace burn compensation – whether your claim for being burned 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 evaluation of your work burn injury compensation claim if you have suffered a burn injury in work accident for which you were not wholly to blame, and provide you with answers to any questions you may have in regard to your eligibility to claim injury compensation for burn at work. As it is often in your best interest to have evidence collected in support of your claim for burns sustained at work while it is still fresh, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of your injury in a work accident without delay.