I have had an accident at work. What happens now?

Never take unnecessary risks. The employer is obliged to create a safe and healthy work environment. If an employer asks you to do things you don’t feel safe doing, don’t do them! In many cases, the employer will not take responsiblity if you have an accident at work. Don’t take any extra risks just to please them. If you are the victim of an accident at work, allow a specialised organisation help you report the accident. For example FAIRWORK Belgium, Fedris or a union.

General rules

  • An employer must create a safe and healthy working environment. They must provide you with protective clothing if the work is dangerous.
  • If you have an accident at your work, or on the way to or from work, this is deemed an accident at work.
  • Even if the accident was your own fault (if you were reckless, for example) you are entitled to compensation. But not if you intentionally caused an accident.

What am I entitled to?

If the accident at work is proven, the insurance company or Fedris will pay you the following:

  • All your medical bills. Benefits for the period of time you are unable to work because of the accident.
  • If the accident results in you being entirely unable to work for the rest of your life, you will continue to receive benefits even if you move to another country or stay in Belgium without legal residence.
  • If an employee dies, their partner and any minors will receive an allowance.

What should I do?

In Belgium, employers are obliged to hold insurance for accidents at work, even for employees without legal residence. There is a special government department that monitors this: Fedris. If your employer has no insurance, Fedris may step in and reimburse the necessary costs following an accident at work. Fedris will then claim those costs from your employer.

  • Your employer must report an accident at work to the insurance company within 8 days.
  • If your employer has not reported it, you can report it yourself. Preferably as soon as possible, however at the least within 3 years.
  • When you report the accident, you must be able to prove that the accident happened while you were working for your employer. So gather all documentary evidence before anything happens.
  • If you don’t know your employer’s insurance company, you can report the accident to Fedris.
  • In the case of fatal accidents, the family must report the incident. The family is then entitled to compensation.

Important: Fedris and the insurer sometimes take a long time to decide whether or not they will pay you. Always start the procedure for urgent medical help first so that the costs of the hospital and doctor will already be paid.