The winter weather is starting to settle in, and so too is the prospect of severe weather occurrences. Severe may impact on your ability to undertake your work – or attend your place of work, and so you should be aware of where you stand in relation to presenting at your place of work during these warnings. At this time of year, we also hear a lot more about people suffering from a weather related accident at work.
Some of the most common accidents that occur due to poor weather while at work are slips, trips and falls due to surface water, loose flooring or surfaces, inadequate lighting, and slippery surfaces that may be caused due to leaves or ice. This may result in back and neck injuries, breaks, fractures, or leg, hip or shoulder injuries. Other situations might include exposure or cold stress due to working outdoors in bad conditions.
Your employer must take reasonable steps to keep your work environment safe. If the relevant guidelines are not followed, and you suffer an injury as a result of this, you may be entitled to compensation.
Weather related accident at work
If you unfortunately have an accident at work, you should firstly seek medical help if you have been injured.
In cases where your accident or injury has been caused due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may want to seek compensation by seeking a personal injury* claim. In these cases you should:
- Speak with a Solicitor
Making a claim can be quite a lengthy and complex process, due to the many stipulations that are required. As such, your first step in making a claim should be to consult a solicitor, who can guide you through the process and protect your rights. They can also provide guidance in submitting your application correctly, procuring your medical report, and advise you on the assessment made by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). If you choose to take your claim to court, your solicitor can arrange for the necessary court proceedings to be drafted, and act as your legal representation.
- Contact the Responsible Party
You will need to contact the responsible party (the respondent) in writing within one month of your accident, advising them of the accident and your resulting injury. If this step is not completed within one month, your PIAB application may not be affected, however it may infringe on your case should you take it to court. The respondent must consent to the PIAB assessment within 90 days of your notice – and if they do not want the claim to be reviewed you may take the claim to court.
- Establish your Medical History
You will need to submit a medical report as part of your PIAB application. This report can be provided by the practitioner who treated the injury in question. If you are unable to submit a medical report along with your claim application, you can speak to your doctor about getting a note with details of your injury. You could also choose to submit a copy of your hospital admission records. If none of these options are possible, you can still submit your application and follow up with the medical report at a later date. However, you must submit all relevant documentation within two years of sustaining the injury. Before assessing your claim, the PIAB may carry out an independent medical examination.
- Fill out a Personal Injury Claim Application
Claims should be sent to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), with the exception of cases of medical negligence. If your claim relates to medical negligence, you can speak to a member of our team today to find out how we can assist you.
The PIAB is an independent statutory body that assesses “personal injury claims for compensation following road traffic, workplace or public liability accidents” (source).
To submit your claim, you should fill out the application form at piab.ie. You may also submit this form by post.
- Submit Your Application
When you are submitting your form, you will need to include the processing fee as part of the required documentation. If you have medical documentation at this point, you should also include this. If you have suffered any financial losses due to the accident, you must also include these receipts with your application. You can include any other documents you feel are relevant.
Please note that your claim must be made within two years of the date on which you sustained the injury, per the Civil Liabilities and Courts Act 2004 (source).
Once the respondent allows the claim to be assessed by the PIAB, it can take over 7 months for a decision to be made. If your claim is taken to court, this will increase to 36 months. For claims assessed after 24 April 2021, the PIAB refers to the Personal Injuries Guidelines as a guideline for awarding personal injury* claims. (Source)
- It’s a good idea to take photos of your injury or whatever caused your accident, make sure you have contact details for anyone who witnessed your accident, make notes about your accident as soon as possible
If you would like assistance regarding a personal injury* claim as a result of a weather related accident at work, please contact our team at Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, and we would be happy to assist you in any way we can.
If your accident happened in a public place, and not your place of work, please refer to our guide on what to do after an accident in a public place.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.