24th September 2012
By Elaine Murphy
Last year 88 workplace personal injury awards were delivered in Co. Cork, according to data from InjuriesBoard.ie – a decrease of 22 on the previous year. The average award value in Cork was €23, 789. This compared with an average of 32 workplace personal injury awards per county, with the average award being €27,108. The most common causes of workplace accidents were slips, trips and falls, defective equipment and poor lifting and handling of goods.
According to InjuriesBoard.ie – which assesses all personal injury claims – the two most common concerns from personal injury claimants after a work related accident are: when is the right time to go back to work and will the timing impact the value of my award?
Attendees at a Royal College of Physicians of Ireland seminar entitled “Getting back to work after injury” were told that traditional medical advice to stay at home after a soft tissue injury until the patient was 100% pain free may have been flawed. This advice often resulted in delayed pain as damaged muscles, following whiplash or lower-back pain, for example, had to be rebuilt after periods of inactivity. Neck braces were cited as a prime example where the use of the brace to aid recovery after whip lash resulted in a second phase of pain and muscle recovery after the brace is removed. Consequently InjuriesBoard.ie’s tips to aid recovery include:
- seek medical advice – any compensation award is secondary to getting better
- return to normal activities, including work, as soon as your doctor allows as this is beneficial and people who ‘normalise’ their activity get better more quickly
- medical research has found that returning to work early is beneficial and the advice is to try to return to the workplace on a gradual basis, perhaps building-up slowly to your usual hours. This can be much more effective than awaiting ‘a full recovery’ and the sudden pressure of full time working
Commenting, Patricia Byron, Chief Executive InjuriesBoard.ie, said:“The first decision for a claimant is what is best for my health and recovery. Doctors are increasingly of a mind that returning to work as soon as is appropriate results in improved outcomes for patients. This is consistent with our experience as a Board which is that claimants want to put the incident behind them as soon as possible. An early return to work, together with resolution of claims within as little as six months is very welcome progress from the lengthy and stressful sick leave, not to mention litigation that generally took three years to resolve.”