Insurance and Accidents at work

Action needs to be taken to protect workers in Ireland who have suffered an accident at work, but their personal injury claim ultimately fails due to a lack of insurance on the part of the employer.

This topic receives little media attention.  As a firm of Solicitors that deals with accident at work claims, we see this issue all too often.

If you are in a car accident and your car is hit by a third party driver who is not insured, you can bring a claim for you injury through the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).  The MIBI will assess the merits of the claim, and if it seems that accident took place as alleged, and that the third party was negligent as alleged, they should compensate car drivers in the same way as an insurer.  All the insurers in Ireland contribute to this.  It means that injured road traffic accident victims receive justice.  This all seems very fair and noble.  Car insurance is compulsory in Ireland, and therefore all car accident victims will be covered.

So what about employees who suffer an accident at work, but their employer has not got employers liability insurance to cover the claim?

TOUGH LUCK! Unless the employer has the financial clout to pay out the value of the claim plus legal costs - you will not be compensated.  Employers liability insurance is not compulsory in Ireland.  We cannot see a good reason for this.

Employees who suffer accidents at work can be left with life changing injuries.  Last year Rogers Personal Injury Solicitors Dublin pursued a case against a small builder in Dublin.  We acted for his employee.  Lets call him John (not his real name).  John was an apprentice plumber and a large threading machine fell onto his ankle.  He suffered a compound fracture and was out of work for six months.  John was not paid for six months, he was only 19 years old.  His employer did not pay him while he was off sick.  His claim for loss of earnings was in the region of twelve thousand euros.

John's ankle was seriously injured.  He will have a limp for life and is at risk of developing arthritis in the future.  We valued John's claim for general damages in the region of eighty thousand euros, his past loss of earnings were around twelve thousand euros, not to mention any potential future loss of earnings.  John played a lot of sport, but this was abruptly ended.

John's employer had no insurance in place to cover the claim.  Under Irish law this is not compulsory.  John dropped his claim when it became clear that it was pointless pursuing the matter further.

At Rogers Personal Injury Solicitors we have blogged about this matter previously.  We get very annoyed when we have to tell clients such as John that they cannot receive any justice.  The government need to tackle this issue.  The recession has long passed, and the Dublin skyline is dotted with countless cranes.  The building boom is back.  But still people such as John are not protected by the need for compulsory employers liability insurance.


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