Occupational injury

An occupational injury refers to an injury or sickness incurred as a result of your work. Occupational injuries can both occur as the outcome of a workplace accident or occupational diseases. In several cases, you may be entitled to restitution.

What is an occupational injury?

If you are injured or incur an illness as a result of your work, you have suffered an occupational injury. Your employer’s insurance or the respective authority for social security on the job market process cases for any occupational injury reported to them.

Occupational injuries refer to two separate concepts: accidents at work and occupational diseases.

Accidents at work

An accident at work can be physical or psychological damage suffered in the workplace either suddenly or up until five days after the accident itself. For instance, this can include falling from a scaffold or a traumatic experience like being robbed. 

Accidents at work can warrant that you be paid restitution as well as other services, should the following criteria apply:

  • The accident occurred because of your work or working conditions
  • The damage is significant enough to exceed the minimum defined in the legislation regarding the handling of occupational injuries
  • The accident has caused discomfort due to the damage

Occupational diseases

Occupational diseases occur due to perpetual circumstances. This could, for example, include having trouble breathing because of inhaling harmful chemicals on a daily basis or being diagnosed with stress as a result of your work.

Occupational diseases can entitle you to restitution and other benefits, if:

  • The disease is officially listed as an occupational disease or
  • The sickness is acknowledged by the responsible authority
  • You have proper documentation to show that diseases have resulted from your work

However, an occupational injury is only acknowledged, if it occurs while working for an employer in Denmark, if it occurs as a consequence of your work or working conditions and if the damage is above the legally defined minimum.

Reporting an occupational injury

Your employer is required to report all occupational injuries. After they have reported it, you will receive a receipt either digitally or in writing, depending on how it is regulated locally.

If your employer does not report the accident, either you or your doctor can do so through the proper channels. The case will then be processed and sent to the responsible authorities, including labor supervision, in case you have missed work due to the accident.

Your employer’s insurance will evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether they are capable of processing it themselves. If not, they will report it to the authorities, who will then take care of it.

What is the time limit for reporting occupational injuries?

Occupational injuries should ideally be reported to the company’s insurance and labor supervision up until nine days after the damage has occurred. If the employee only has missed work on the day of the accident, the damage need not be reported to labor supervision.

In case of an occupational disease, it should be reported within nine days after the first day of absence. Occasionally, it can be difficult to determine if an accident or occupational disease is extensive enough to warrant being reported to the insurance company.

Reporting occupational injuries is usually only necessary, if there is a demand for restitution of some sort - or if there are treatment costs that have to be covered. This especially applies, if the injury is so severe, that it bears the risk of long-term damages or recurring expenses for continuous medical treatment.

If the injury has not been reported, but a demand for compensation materializes later down the line, it has to be reported as quickly as possible. If the report is filed more than a year after the injury or accident, the authorities will ask for special reasons to process the case.

Compensation for occupational injuries

If the injury report is acknowledged, you have the right to restitution and other benefits. The responsible authorities or your company’s insurance have to evaluate and process every single case regarding occupational injury.

Compensation is generally paid out as a single, one-time sum. If the damage is very extensive, it will be paid as an ongoing benefit.

There are three different kinds of compensation.

  • Compensation for treatment costs - treatment of diseases, rehabilitation training, aids etc.
  • Compensation for lasting damages - if your fitness for employment is decreased by more than 5 %
  • Compensation for inability to work - if fitness for employment is decreased by more than 15 %

If your fitness for employment is decreased by more than 50 %, the compensation will be paid out continuously. Otherwise, it will be paid out at once. Note, that an ongoing payment is taxed as income.

Inability to work

If you have lost income as a result of damages, you can also have the right to be compensated for lost wages. However, this is only applicable if another person was responsible, also referred to as culpa, for your occupational injury. It does not apply in cases of force majeure.

It is also possible to receive compensation for lost wages, if it can be documented, that your employer or someone else was responsible for the accident at work.

Lost wages are calculated from the difference between your income before and after the damage. This includes pension, common benefits and the value of other types of income, such as free telephony, car or expected overtime work. However, you have to subtract the benefits received due to work expenses that you do not have at the moment because of your absence. That includes transport allowances, for example.

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