Accidents Involving Emergency Services Personnel

If you have suffered an injury as a result of your duties within an emergency services team, such as the fire or ambulance service, the military or as a member of An Garda Síochána, you may have certain questions in mind regarding your employer’s responsibilities and whether you are eligible to make a claim * against them. On this page you will find some general guidance relating to typical injuries sustained by emergency service personnel.

Instigating a claim for negligence

Workers in the emergency services are no different from employees in any other context, in that they are entitled to a safe system of work, albeit that in the course of their duties they may regularly encounter emergent situations and unanticipated scenarios where things must be done at speed with a view to minimising the extent to which the emergency results in a negative outcome.

In the case of ambulance drivers, paramedics, fire and emergency services personnel, members of An Garda Siochana, and other first responders, one would expect employees to be exposed to high risk situations such as working at heights and in adverse conditions and carrying weights that are excessive, for instance dealing with incapacitated individuals and stretchers etc.

If an employee can be expected to have to lift people out of dangerous situations which can happen quite regularly, but has not had proper training on how to do that, or has not been given the proper equipment to deal with the situation, then this could give rise to liability on the part of the employer.

And of course members of the emergency services are not always engaged in emergencies all of the time: a lot of the work-related duties that individuals in the emergency services will be expected to carry out may be quite routine tasks, where accidents can arise if inappropriate or inadequate training and equipment is provided.

Specific Schemes

In the case of An Garda Siochana there is a specific Garda Compensation Scheme, under the Garda Siochana Compensation Acts.

Nurses who are assaulted in the course of their duties may be entitled to the benefit of the Serious Physical Assault at Work Scheme & Injury Allowance. See also this PDF download.

Psychological injury

Emergency workers, by the nature of their work, are likely to be exposed to the risk of psychological injury, particularly if not provided with appropriate counselling and other follow-up treatment and leave arising from situations that may give rise to psychological harm. If they were to develop mental illness as a result then that would certainly be something that could be actionable, particularly given that it is entirely foreseeable that hazards of this nature are likely to be much greater in the emergency services than many other walks of life and that staff must accordingly be given all supports necessary to ensure that anything experienced in the line of duty does not trigger mental injuries.

About McCarthy + Co

With more than 25 years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims *, McCarthy + Co. has expertise in a wide variety of fields including workplace and road traffic accidents. We are a family-run business, who pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice.

Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork but we have worked with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance and assistance on any form of personal injury *.

Contact Us

If you are an emergency services worker, or you have been affected by the actions of a worker, get in contact with our personal injury solicitors today to make a start on your claim * or gather more information. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email on info@mccarthy.ie and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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