Work accidents – how can you receive compensation and exercise your rights?
Did you know that a work accident can also happen on the way to the workplace or while working from home? Did you know that even self-employed workers can file a claim for a work accident? Are you aware that there are several different routes through which you can sue for damage caused at the workplace? The subject of work accidents has developed significantly from a legal point of view in recent years. Unfortunately, many employees are not aware of this, and this lack of awareness limits their ability to exercise their rights. Accordingly, we have prepared a detailed explanation on this important subject from attorney Michael Decker, a partner in our firm and an expert in labor and tort law.
Our law office, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specializes in the fields of tort law and labor law. The office provides comprehensive legal assistance to employees on a variety of legal issues such as exercising employee rights, compensation for bodily injuries at work, workplace bullying, and severance pay, as well as procedures with the National Insurance Institute and insurance companies in the event of loss of working capacity.
A few things you may not have known about work accidents
There is quite a bit of misinformation among employees regarding their rights when it comes to work accidents. The definition of a work accident in Israeli law is broader than what is commonly thought, including “any accident that occurred during their work and as a result of their work for or on behalf of their employer, and in the case of a self-employed person – while engaging in their occupation and as a result of their occupation”. This broad definition not only applies to physical harm in the workplace, but also harm that occurs when employees are making their way to or from work. It covers cases such as slipping at the workplace, a car accident on the way to work, injury from a machine at the workplace and more. Many are not aware of this, but this is also relevant to the injury of an employer during their work. It is important to know that there are several possible routes for filing a claim for a work accident. Below we will detail these routes.
Route 1 – a claim against the National Insurance Institute
In the case of an accident at the workplace, you can submit an application for injury compensation from the National Insurance Institute. As a rule, applications of this kind are available up to one year from the date of the accident. If it is necessary to determine disability percentages, a claim for disability percentages can be filed within 4 years (48 months) from the date of the accident, and only after receiving recognition of the incident as a work accident. These procedures may be complex, given the difficulty often involved in proving that the case constitutes a work accident. It is important to know that if an application for compensation from the National Insurance is rejected, it can be appealed to the Labor Court. It is recommended to consult with an attorney specializing in labor law before filing a claim of this kind.
Route 2 – a claim against the employer
Alongside the preceding insurance claim, an employee can sue the employer in cases where the damage and the work accident resulted from the employer’s negligence. Although this is a tort claim, but it is filed in the Labor Court because of the employment relationships in such cases. Often the compensation amounts settled in lawsuits against employers come from activating the employers’ insurance coverage for work accident damages, if such coverage exists.
These are legally complex claims. They require proving that the employer did not act with the necessary care in order to prevent risks of the kind that caused the damage. But there are not always clear rules regarding the possible risks and the ways to prevent them. For example, the damages that may be caused to workers in a factory with heavy machinery are not the same as those that may be caused in the office. The ways to prevent risks may include placing signs warning about the possible risks, taking measures to prevent slipping and falling, and requiring safety training regarding the workplace and operating the work tools. In any lawsuit filed against an employer for a work accident, the court will thoroughly examine the case and decide whether everything necessary had been done to prevent the injury caused.
Route 3 – claim to a private insurance policy
Many workers in the employment market have an insurance policy that was arranged privately or by the employer. This policy is intended to cover damages caused by personal accidents, disability, loss of working capacity, etc. Alongside the preceding two routes, it is possible in some cases to activate a private policy. These claims to activate a private insurance policy can be filed, as a rule, within 3 years from the date of the accident.
What actions should be taken in the event of a work accident?
Even before choosing a specific route for the purpose of receiving compensation, several actions must be carried out in any case of a work accident. First, one must apply for immediate medical treatment and document the circumstances of the case during the treatment. It is important to explain the circumstances of the incident to the medical authorities and make sure that it is recorded in the treatment summary documents, as much as possible. In addition, it is important to document the event as thoroughly as possible, including collecting testimonies from employees or other people who were present at the scene. It is important to make sure to notify the employer about the accident close to the time of the incident, and to make sure that a work accident notification form is filled out by the employer, or someone appointed by them. In addition to all of the above, in order to choose the right legal course of action under the circumstances of the specific case, it is important to contact an attorney specializing in labor and tort law for legal advice.
Work accident – contact an attorney specializing in labor and tort law
In conclusion, a work accident is defined broadly from a legal point of view, and there are several routes for receiving compensation for it. It is important that employees know the applicable rules on the subject and act in accordance with them. For any additional questions or if you require assistance on the subject, an attorney specializing in labor and tort law from our office will be glad to provide you with comprehensive and professional assistance. You can contact us using the contact details below.