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What if my boss wants to cover up an accident at work that happened to me?


Reader: I had an accident at work. However, I agreed with my bosses that I would tell the doctor it happened at home. I now realise that this was not correct and I want to change it into an accident at work. How can I do that? 

Piret Kaljula, work environment consultant of the Labour Inspectorate: If an employee goes to a doctor because of an accident at work, they must tell the doctor that the accident happened while working. The doctor who identifies serious physical harm to the employee or issues a certificate of incapacity for work due to an accident at work shall inform the Labour Inspectorate thereof. The doctor also informs the Labour Inspectorate of a fatal accident at work. 

If the employee and the employer decide to cover up the accident at work and the employee does not tell the doctor the truth about the injury, it may be difficult to prove that it was an accident at work later on, as potential witnesses may no longer remember the accident. 

Therefore, in the case of an accident at work, it must be ensured that both the doctor and the employer are notified of the incident in time. For example, if an employee was injured, but nobody saw it and the employee reports the accident at work only to the employer who wants to cover it up, then the employee might have difficulty explaining and proving that it was an accident at work later on. 

The injured party, but also their colleagues who witnessed the accident at work, have a duty to inform the employer. If this cannot be done immediately, the employer should be informed as soon as possible. We recommend informing the employer by e-mail, for example, so it could later be verified, if necessary.

If, despite the notification, the employer does not acknowledge the accident at work and does not investigate it, it is possible to recourse to the court to resolve the dispute. When going to court, the employee must also first prove that it was an accident at work. If the court finds that there was an accident at work, the employee can claim compensation from the employer for loss of indemnity. Thus, an employee has two different claims when going to court: ascertainment of an accident at work and a claim for damages.

Photo: Pixabay

What if my boss wants to cover up an accident at work that happened to me?

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