Right to Compensation for Material and Non-material Damages in Current Legislation

One question pertains to wage compensation during a workplace injury, while another concerns the compensation for damages an employee may suffer during or in relation to work. The employer is obligated to provide compensation in accordance with Article 164 of the Labor Law and general rules on compensation from the Law on Obligations (“Official Gazette of SFRY,” No. 29/78, 39/85, 45/89 – US decision, and 57/89, “Official Gazette of SRJ,” No. 31/93, “Official Gazette of SCG,” No. 1/2003 – Constitutional Charter, and “Official Gazette of RS,” No. 18/2020 – hereinafter referred to as ZOO).

According to Article 164 of the Labor Law, the employer is liable for damages suffered by an employee at work or in connection with work, in accordance with the law and internal regulations. The phrase “in accordance with the law” used in this provision refers to the application of ZOO.

Whether the employer will be obliged to compensate the employee for damages resulting from a workplace injury depends primarily on whether the employer is liable for such damages.

For what extent is employer in Serbia liable?

Article 9, paragraph 4, of the Law on the Protection of Employees during Work-related Accidents (ZBZR) explicitly states that the employer is not liable for damages caused by elemental disasters, serious, unavoidable, and immediate dangers beyond the employer’s control, or due to exceptional events, despite all the employer’s efforts. In such cases, compensation for damages is governed by general principles of liability, with the assumption of employer’s fault as the basis for compensation. The employer is liable under the rules of ZOO for damages due to fault (Article 154, paragraph 1) or for damages caused by dangerous things or activities (Articles 173 and 174). The conditions for liability are that the employee has suffered damage, that the damage occurred at work or in connection with work, and that there are no reasons to exclude the employer’s liability.

Kitchen Safety in the Workplace: Understanding Employer Liability and Employee Rights

What is the basis of liability of the employer in Serbia?

The basis of liability according to Article 154 of ZOO: “(1) Anyone who causes damage to another shall be obliged to compensate it, unless they prove that the damage occurred without their fault. (2) Liability shall exist regardless of fault for damage caused by things or activities that pose an increased risk of damage to the environment. (3) Liability shall also exist in other cases provided for by law.”

Presumption of causality according to Article 173 of ZOO: “Damage caused in connection with a dangerous thing or activity shall be deemed to originate from that thing or activity unless it is proven that they were not the cause of the damage.”

Liability for damages according to Article 174 of ZOO: “(1) The holder of a dangerous thing shall be liable for damage caused by the dangerous thing, and the person engaged in a dangerous activity shall be liable for damage caused by that activity.”

For the employer to be liable, there must be a causal link between the injury and the harmful action or omission on the part of the employer. The injury should not have occurred due to dangerous things or activities for which the employer is responsible. There should be no adequate causality between the employer’s activities and the damage, and the employer should not be liable for the damage based on fault or objective liability according to ZOO.

The Labor Law, in Article 119, paragraph 1, point 3, stipulates that the employer is obliged to compensate the employee for damages resulting from a workplace injury or occupational disease, in accordance with internal regulations.

Understanding Liability for Workplace Injuries: Differentiating Fault and Risk

How to to establish liability for compensation in Serbia?

However, to establish liability for compensation, there must be a causal relationship between the employer’s actions and the damage suffered by the employee. Liability can be based on fault or objective liability. Nevertheless, for damages caused by things or activities that pose an increased risk of damage to the environment, the employer is liable regardless of fault, according to Article 154, paragraph 2, of ZOO. Even if the employee is qualified for the assigned job and provided with protective equipment, the employer’s liability for damages resulting from dangerous things cannot be excluded. However, the employee’s conduct in unsafe conditions and potential contribution to the damage are taken into account. For instance, if the employee fails to use the work equipment appropriately, considering their work experience and professional qualifications, the employer may still be held responsible.

PS. In situations where the employee suffers an injury that is not a consequence of the employer’s harmful action or omission, or does not occur due to the employer’s fault or dangerous things or activities, the employer is not liable for the resulting damages under the rules of subjective or objective liability.

For more information on this or any other legal, tax, or business topic, feel free to write to us at [email protected] at any time or call us at phone number +381113281914 every working day from 08:30 to 16:30.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your AK STATT representative, or other competent legal counsel.

#CompensationRights, #EmployeeRights, #EmployerLiability, #laborlaw, #LawOnObligations, #WorkplaceInjuries

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