Consequences Of Accidents At Work: Civil Claims And Inquests

Author:Ms Siobhán Hayes and Peter Bredin
Profession:Arthur Cox
 
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The purpose of this briefing is to give an overview of civil claims and inquests, each of which may follow a workplace accident. If an employee is injured during the course of their work and feel their employer is responsible for the accident, they may seek financial compensation. Under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 (as amended) before bringing a court claim, an employee must apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation.

If the accident at work has led to a death, then an inquest will be held.

Injuries Board

Introduction

The Injuries Board (the "Board") was established to carry out assessments of compensation for personal injury. Assessments by the Board are in line with those of the Courts but are, in general, delivered more quickly and at lower costs than cases pursued through the Courts.

Process

The employee must submit a claim for damages with a medical report from their treating doctor within two years from the date of the accident. Once all necessary documentation has been submitted to the Board, the limitation period is effectively frozen while the Board handles the claim.

The Board notifies the employer of the claim, and the employer has 90 days to indicate whether it consents to an assessment. The employer will be deemed to consent, unless it specifically refuses consent. Where consent is refused, the Board will issue an Authorisation which enables the employee to bring court proceedings.

If the assessment proceeds, generally speaking no further input is required from the employer until the assessment has been made. The Board usually requests the employee to attend a medical examination by a member of its independent medical panel.

Once the assessment has been made, the parties are notified of the amount. Both parties have a fixed period within which to reject the assessment, failing which it will be deemed accepted. If accepted, an Order to Pay will issue in the amount of the assessment. If any party rejects the assessment, the Board will issue an Authorisation.

Assessment

Assessment is placing a monetary value on (i) general damages (pain and suffering to date and into the future) and (ii) specific losses caused as a result of the injury, for example loss of earnings to date and into the future, medical expenses, travel expenses, care costs etc. General damages are calculated by the Board by reference to its published Book of Quantum (see www.injuriesboard.ie) which sets out the general range of compensation...

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