Does your employer have to pay your full damage if you suffer injuries during your work? And what about traffic accidents during working hours? Does it matter whether you had to bring some mail away from your boss? Or if you are injured during a business trip or business dinner?
There are of course a lot of professions that significantly increase the risk of injury, for example working with dangerous devices, substances or in a dangerous workplace. But you can also be seriously injured by a meaningless toilet door that a colleague accidentally opens hard against you. Is your employer liable and is there an obligation to pay? The answer is yes. In this article, we discuss the liability of the employer.
To begin with, every situation is different and it must therefore be stated that the specific circumstances of the case may or may not draw liability. There are many different situations in which you can be injured in the capacity of employee, each with its own legal framework. It is therefore possible that your situation is not mentioned here, but that there is an obligation to pay compensation by the employer. Therefore, always contact one of our lawyers to talk about your case. Especially if you have injuries, it is better to have this done carefully by a professional lawyer.
The employer has a duty of care to his employees. This means he is required to take measures and provide instructions that are reasonably necessary to prevent the employee from suffering damage in the performance of his work. The duty of care only applies if the employer has control (influence) about the workingplace and the working conditions, is actually able to give his employee instructions about how to do his job and has high requirements. More flexible employees, who may not have a “formal” employment contract, can also appeal to the employer’s duty of care, and also volunteers can apply on this article.
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This therefore means that this article cannot be applied to the situatie that an employee is involved in a traffic accident. After all, the employer has no influence on these (traffic) conditions and the duty of care does not apply in this situation because the road is not the working place of the employee. This has also been confirmed in Knoppen/NCM. This can, however, be different if there is a situatiom of work-work traffic or “special” work related traffic.
Eventhough, the employer is not liable if the employee has acted deliberately or deliberately reckless. This situation hardly occurs in practice. In Pollemans/Hoondert, the Supreme Court ruled that, although the employer had warned repeatedly and in strong terms, the employee didn’t act recklessly immediately prior tot he accident. He has to axtually been aware of its behavior, which was not the case. Also another case, where an employee put his hand into a spinning machine despite verbal and written instructions, the employer was held liable and deliberate recklessness on the part of the employee could not succeed. The employer had not warned in a sufficiently effective manner and had to continue to warn the risk repeatedly.
Article. 7:611 BW also states that an employer has to behave as a good employer. This article covers employers ‘insurance obligations’ towards employees, but does not address the actual basis of the liability-creating event itself – the article is more about employers’ obligation to adequately insure risks fort its employees.
So the duty of care is decisive for establishing the liability of the employer. Although it does not provide an absolute guarantee for employees, due to the high requirements of the duty of care, it is difficult for an employer to avoid liability in any working situation.