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Compensation for occupational diseases

Last updated: 02.09.2021
  • An employee is entitled to compensation for damage to health caused by work.
  • In particular, the employer must reimburse reasonable medical expenses for the damage to health.
  • Disputes related to compensation for occupational disease are settled in court.

Compensation for occupational diseases

An employee has the right to receive compensation for health damage caused by work (for example due to an occupational disease) to the extent provided for in the Law of Obligations Act (clause 14 (5) 6) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act). The employer must compensate for the damage only if the circumstance on which their liability is based is related to the occurrence of the damage in such a way that the damage caused is a consequence of that circumstance (causal link).

The employer must, in particular, reimburse the reasonable costs of treatment for the damage to health and the damage caused by the injured party's incapacity for work and loss of income, and, in the event of the employee's death, their reasonable funeral expenses.

In addition to compensating for the loss of income due to an occupational injury, the employer responsible for the injury must compensate the victim for the additional costs caused by the occupational injury. Such additional costs may include:

  • prostheses and aids;
  • prescription medicinal products;
  • expenditure on rehabilitation;
  • travel expenses to a medical institution;
  • victim care costs.

Compensation for damage is based on the provisions of the Law of Obligations Act. Subsection 130 (1) of the Law of Obligations Act stipulates that if there is an obligation to compensate for damage caused to a person's health or bodily injury, the injured person must be compensated for the expenses caused by the damage, including expenses arising from increased needs, and damages arising from total or partial incapacity for work, including the damage arising from lessening of income and further deterioration of economic possibilities. Pursuant to section 127 of the Law of Obligations Act, the purpose of compensation for damage is to place the injured person in a situation as close as possible to the situation they would have been in if the circumstance on which the obligation to compensate for damage was based had not occurred.

In other words, if a person has been diagnosed with an occupational disease for the development of which the employer is (partly) to blame, the person has the right to claim compensation for the costs related to the illness. In order to be reimbursed, the claim must be submitted to the employer in writing or in a format which can be reproduced in writing. Please note that the employer may ask for documents proving that the costs have been incurred, and that the employer may ask for explanations as to how a particular cost is related to the health damage caused by the accident at work. The employer is only obliged to reimburse the expenses related to the accident at work. If the employer does not agree to reimburse you to the extent you want, the employee can go to court to claim compensation.