People injured in the workplace may bring a claim in court
for damages for personal injuries.
However, in cases of serious or permanent disablement or
death, people are entitled to compensation from their employer
under the Workmens Compensation Act without consideration
of liability, that is, whether or not negligence can be
proven against the employer.
Thus, even if the employee may be partly or wholly at fault,
the employer may still have an obligation to pay compensation
under the Act.
Compensation is calculated according to criteria set out
in the Act. There are different methods of calculation according
to whether the injuries result in death or whether disablement
is permanent or temporary or total or partial.
Where death has been the result, a lump sum payment is calculated
according to whether there are dependents or not and to
what extent they are dependent.
People considered dependents include any member of the workmans
family who is dependent either wholly or in part on the
workmans earnings and these are likely to be the spouse
and children or even parents and grandparents.
If an employee leaves any dependents that are wholly dependent
on his earnings then the lump sum will be equal to 36 months
If the dependents are only partly dependent on his earnings,
the lump sum may not be more than the amount payable for
wholly dependent people.
However, this is subject to agreement by the employer, and
if not, an application may be made to a commissioner for
workmens compensation who will decide the amount on
the basis as to whether it is reasonable and proportionate
to the injury to the dependents.
If there are no dependents, then the lump sum is confined
to the funeral expenses of the deceased workman and shall
not exceed $500.
Where there is permanent total disablement, compensation
is equal to a sum of 48 months of earnings.
Where there is partial permanent disability, compensation
is assessed according to a schedule provided in the Act,
which is meant to reflect the percentage of incapacity as
against the amount payable for permanent total disablement,
which is 48 months earnings.
For example, for the loss of two limbs or loss of sight
both are considered to be 100 per cent incapacity, which
means that you will be entitled to 100 per cent of 48 months
Other entitlements include the loss of a hand at 60 per
cent of 48 months of earnings; the loss of an entire index
finger at 10 per cent of 48 months of earnings and the loss
of an eye at 30 per cent of 48 months of earnings.
If your injuries do not fall within schedule of the Act,
then a determination is made on the basis of what is proportionate
to the incapacity permanently cause by the injury.
Where there is temporary disablement, whether it is total
or partial, compensation is paid at one-third of monthly
earnings starting from the sixteenth day of the disablement
and continues at a rate of one-third of monthly earnings
payable at half-monthly payments for a period of five years
or the period of disablement whichever is the shorter period.
Apart from the above, an employee is also entitled to reasonable
medical expenses although this is not to be more than $500
which may go towards e.g. nursing care or medication.
The Act also provides for certain deductions e.g. where
the employee has received compensation from the employer
otherwise than provided by the Act.
This is to prevent double recovery, which means being compensated
twice for the same event.
To claim compensation under this Act, notice should be given
to the employer in writing or orally within six months of
an injury or death. If not, this would not prevent a claim
against the employer once it may be shown that the employer
had notice from another source.
An employee should also co-operate with his employer if
asked to undergo a medical examination and is entitled to
a copy of the medical report within six days after such
Regarding occupational diseases such as anthrax, asbestosis
(exposure to asbestosis), baggasosis (exposure to bagasse
or a compound of bagasse) or tuberculosis (usually affecting
people in the medical field who are exposed to source of
infection) the amount of compensation will be assessed by
the Commissioner for Workmens Compensation on the
basis of a personal injuries assessment under the different
heads of damages allowable for a personal injuries claim.
In the special circumstances of an occupational disease,
however, a specially appointed medical board must first
certify that the workman does or did suffer any of the diseases
listed in the Act and the commissioner must be satisfied
that any disablement or death was the result of such.
Usually claims under this Act are settled as a matter of
course by the employers insurers as all employers
are required by law to hold an insurance policy for the
purposes of workmens compensation claims in recognition
of the unfortunate phenomenon of work related incidents.