I had an accident at work, what now?
An accident at work occurs when you, as an employee, suffer an injury due to an accident during and through the performance of your employment contract. This includes not only accidents while you are at work, but also accidents on the way to and from work or when you are working at home.
To qualify as an accident at work, you must prove that your accident meets three conditions:
- It is a sudden event or accident, and therefore not an illness.
- It is a mental or physical injury, or damage to prosthetic or orthopaedic devices.
- It happened during and through the performance of your employment contract. So there must be a causal link between your accident and your work.
You report the workplace accident to your employer as soon as possible, even if you are not yet inconvenienced. That way, you avoid any discussions afterwards.
Then, within eight days of the accident, your employer must report the accident to its workplace accident insurer, together with an initial assessment certificate describing your injuries. If your employer refuses to report the accident, it is best to contact Fedris, the Federal Agency for Occupational Risks, and you can report the accident yourself to your employer's work accident insurer.
The work accident insurer will then decide whether it is indeed a work-related accident. As long as the work accident insurer has not made a decision, your employer will pay you guaranteed salary for the first 30 days. Afterwards, your own health insurance fund will bear the costs of the accident, which will be recovered from the insurer. If the insurer then recognises the accident at work, it will pay the costs and any compensation for your disability.
However, if the insurer says it is not a work-related accident, you can contact Fedris again, which will then investigate the insurer's decision. Finally, if you disagree with the outcome of that investigation, you can take it to the labour court.
Why is it best to consult a lawyer?
It is important to communicate all the correct details to your employer as soon as possible. After all, he or she must report your claim to the work accident insurer. Your lawyer can assist you so that the administrative processing of your accident at work is correct and that it is not needlessly delayed or declared unfounded. Your lawyer can even help you work with your doctor to prepare a technically and factually correct medical certificate. That way, you have the best chance of being in order.