What is understood by an accident at work?
An accident at work is a sudden event due to an external cause resulting in injury or death, which happened in connection with work:
- during or in connection with performing by the employee the ordinary activities or instructions of his or her superior;
- during or in connection with performing by the employee the activities for the employer, even without the instructions;
- when the employee remains at the disposal of the employer between the employer’s office and the place of performing the duties under the employment contract.
An employee who suffers an accident at work is entitled to the benefits set out in the Act of 30 October 2002 on social insurance for occupational accidents and occupational diseases. These benefits are not due from the employer, but from the Social Insurance Institution (Polish: Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych), and are calculated according to the applicable rates.
Can the compensation be higher than that paid by the Social Insurance Institution?
However, it often happens that the benefits paid to the employee from the Social Insurance Institution under the abovementioned Act do not cover in full the damage suffered by the employee. In this case, the employee may claim additional compensation from the employer under the provisions of the Polish Civil Code.
The employer is responsible for the damage suffered when the employee proves the existence of the damage, the causal link between the damage occurred and the event which constitutes the accident at work, and – typically – the fault of the employer. In case of the accidents at work the wrongful act or omission of the employer is most commonly the violation of safety regulations. In certain cases, the employer’s liability may be strict liability.
In any event, the compensation which the employee may claim from the employer under the Polish Civil Code is of a complementary nature. This means that the employee may make such a claim only after obtaining the benefits due under the Act on social insurance for occupational accidents and occupational diseases.
An employee is also entitled to compensation under the Polish Labour Code. In accordance with article 2371 section 2 of the Polish Labour Code, the employee who has suffered an accident at work, is entitled to compensation from his employer for loss or damage of his personal belongings and items necessary to perform the work which were lost or damaged in connection with the accident, except for loss or damage to motor vehicles and money.
If you are interested in obtaining compensation for an accident at work, please contact BFP law firm on telephone number: +48 12 428 00 70 or firstname.lastname@example.org.