DOs and DONTs after an Accident at Work


Always report accidents at work to one's employer or to the supervisor or to somebody in authority.
If there is no record of the accident having been reported, this will initially cast doubt on the claim in the eyes of the employer.

Go to a doctor or to hospital if this is deemed necessary. One of the questions which will be asked in connection with a claim is when you first attended with you doctor or at a hospital.
If, therefore, you feel that it is not necessary to go to a doctor and that the injury may go away, it is essential that you simply attend with your general practitioner and inform him of your injury, even if you have no intention of bringing a claim. The doctor will then have a record of the initial attendance and complaint in the event that subsequently the injury becomes more serious and it is necessary to bring a claim.

Remember that there is no obligation on an employer to pay the employee whilst the employee is out of work. This is one of the most misunderstood areas of the employer/employee relationship. Many companies will have particular insurance arrangements whereby an employee is paid whilst out sick. This is not, however, an obligation on the employer. If one is out of work, the employee must seek social welfare benefit. On the other hand, you will normally at a later stage be claiming for your loss of earnings from your employer because you are holding your employer responsible for your injuries. The verified loss of earnings will be recovered when ascertained at the conclusion of your case.


Don't sign an admission of liability or other document which holds you responsible for the accident. This is often very difficult where an employee is pressurised to sign a statement and does not wish to jeopardise his job. Nevertheless, wherever possible one should politely decline to sign such a document. It is worthy of note that if one does sign a statement in relation to ones accident it may subsequently be disregarded at the Hearing of your claim and it is not necessarily, in itself, deemed an admission of liability as far as the claim is concerned.

Don't forget that insurance cover is very expensive in the Republic of Ireland in relation to employer's liability claims. This means that very often there is an excess on the policy. In other words, the employer will have to pay a given amount, for example, the first €5,000 in any claim. This may well mean that the employer has significant influence and interest in the outcome of the case.

Don't forget that although the employee may have a cause of action against the employer for negligence which resulted in personal injury, this does not mean that the employer can necessarily dismiss the employee simply because a claim is being brought. If the employer tries to dismiss the employee on these grounds then the employee will have a separate action in the Labour Court for wrongful dismissal. Such an action on the part of the employee is quite separate to the action for personal injuries. Normally, however, no employer would risk an unfair dismissal action by letting an employee go following an accident. If there is a genuine accident at work, the employer realises that the employee is entitled to be compensated and that's why insurance was arranged in the first place. An employer may, however, be entitled to dismiss an employee for different reasons (nothing to do with the action for personal injuries) and the employee's rights in these circumstances will depend on, amongst other things, whether proper warnings were given and whether the employee has worked with the company for a sufficiently lengthy period of time (normally twelve months) to acquire statutory rights. Naturally, we would be pleased to advise on rights of this nature separately from personal injuries action, if so required.


* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.