Accident at work and compensation – rules

Sometimes an accident happens during work or on the way to work. The injured party can then claim one-time compensation, but there are a number of conditions that must be met before that. In addition, you must complete many formalities and follow strictly defined procedures.

An accident at work is a sudden event that causes injury or death to an employee in the performance of his duties, but also when the employee is at the disposal of the employer outside the workplace. If the situation is considered an accident, the injured person is entitled to 100% sickness benefit.

If the event results in permanent or long-term damage to health, the employee can apply for one-time compensation from ZUS.

What is an accident at work?

The definition of an accident at work is quite broad, since it covers events that occur not only during the performance of duties on the employer’s premises, but also during business trips, training, on the way to work. It is an event that occurs due to external circumstances and contributes to the death or injury of an employee. The accidents specified by the legal provisions have been divided into 5 groups:

  • accidents at work on the order of the employer or without order, but for the benefit of the employer,
  • accidents assimilated to accidents at work: during a business trip, general self-defense training, etc.,
  • accidents on the way to and from work at home,
  • accidents in special circumstances.

The procedure used in the event of an accident at work is above all the need to take measures to eliminate the risk and provide first aid to the victim. It is equally urgent to establish the causes and circumstances in which the event occurred, and to take appropriate measures to prevent similar situations from recurring in the future.

The scope of these activities is most often regulated by the provisions of labor regulations or external instructions. They are implemented by employees of the OHS department. Prosecutions in the event of an accident at work include the evacuation of people in the vicinity, the securing of the accident site, as well as the stopping of machines or devices, the cutting off of the gas and electricity supply (depending on circumstances). An accident at work obliges the injured person or the witnesses of the event to inform the employer, who must in turn transmit the information to the National Labor Inspectorate and to the prosecutor in the event of a serious or collective fatal event. It is important to note that health and safety workers must be informed of the accident (in writing), appointed as members of the arbitration committee, which writes a report on the accident at work. The accident team also includes a social labor inspector.

Compensation for an accident at work

An accident at work also includes specific benefits. An accident at work is mainly linked to the possibility of receiving sick leave payable at 100% of the basis for calculating sick pay. In a situation where the accident causes permanent or long-term damage to health, the injured person is entitled to one-time compensation from ZUS. In order to claim such compensation, certain conditions must be met, first of all, appropriate documents must be presented: application, health certificate, medical documentation, and sometimes also an accident report or an accident card. The degree of injury is determined by ZUS after the injured person has completed treatment or rehabilitation. ZUS has 14 days to issue a decision on the payment of compensation, calculated from the time of receipt of the decision of the medical commission or the certifying physician of ZUS.

Compensation of the employer in the event of an accident at work

The injured employee can also claim compensation from the employer for an accident at work. This is possible when the amount of compensation paid by ZUS does not cover the treatment costs. An additional claim for compensation from the employer can only be made after receiving a benefit from ZUS. Most often, compensation for an accident at work is paid by the employer’s liability insurance, and if the employer does not have an insurance policy, he is obliged to cover the cost of treatment of the employee on his own property. However, the employee must prove that the damage suffered by him is related to the accident that occurred, which occurred, for example, as a result of the employer’s negligence related to compliance with health and safety rules .

An accident at work due to the fault of the employee

An accident at work due to the fault of an employee has slightly different consequences, namely the absence of the right to compensation from the accident fund. The health insurance benefit is paid at 80%. However, the fault of the employee must first be proven. Compensation (100% sickness and compensation from the Social Insurance Institution) is also not entitled to an employee who was drunk or under the influence of narcotics or psychotropic drugs.

Main photo source: chris fertnig/Getty Images

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