Claiming Workers Compensation
Workers compensation awards are paid out for a variety of reasons. The most common type of payment is made for personal injury but there are also claims made for things like harassment and discrimination, wrongful and unfair dismissal and criminal acts in the workplace. Workers are generally well protected by national laws but they are not always aware of the full extent of these. Much of the work done by Trade Unions is aimed at supporting workers and helping them in instances where they feel they have been unfairly treated and/or injured.
Legal aid is now largely unavailable in cases of workers compensation claims so most personal injury cases are funded by conditional fee agreements (commonly known as no win no fee funding). Employment tribunals also make awards in instances of discrimination and unfair dismissal and the procedure governing these decisions is different to civil courts. The police may also occasionally become involved as harassment and deliberate negligence can be treated as criminal actions. In this instance the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority may well award damages.
I should be clear that workers’ compensation is a complex area and that different organisations can become involved in any claim. Workers are covered both by the normal tort (law) of negligence and specific governmental acts and directives. In some cases it may be easier to make a claim for an accident at work than in other instances, as you do not always have to prove negligence; the simple failure to do something may be enough.
The various different actions that may be brought will have different procedures and it is important to be clear about these and any time limits involved. For example most personal injury cases must be brought within three years of the negligent act (unless the claimant is unaware of the injury till later; as in asbestosis or similar cases). Unfair dismissal cases, on the other hand, must be brought within three months. If you feel you have any type of claim to make it is important to get in contact with a Trade Union or Citizen’s Advice Bureau as soon as possible so as not to fall foul of any such detail.