The worker must prove the accident at work

Occupational risk and illness are defined in articles 195, 196, and 197 of the Labor Code. Thus, in general terms, accidents and illnesses that occur to workers on the occasion of or as a consequence of the work performed for an employer and that may cause death, or temporary or permanent disability are considered occupational hazards.

It is also qualified as an accident in the workplace:

i) That which occurs on the usual route from the worker's home to the workplace and vice versa, as long as the path has not been interrupted or varied for reasons of the worker's personal interest.

ii) During the provision of a service for the employer, even if the accident occurs outside the workplace and after the end of the work day.

iii) The one that happened when collaborating in the attention of some sinister within the company.

Occupational illness occurs as a consequence of a continuous action that affects the worker's health and origin in the activity itself or in the environment and conditions in which they work.

It is up to the worker to prove that they had an injury at work. This criterion has been reiterated by the jurisprudence of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Often, internally in companies or within legal proceedings, only the worker's declaration regarding the way the work accident supposedly occurred is recorded.

It may happen that the worker does not provide proof that he has suffered an injury in the workplace; there are no witnesses to the events or video recordings to support the worker's version. On some occasions, the accident is reported several days later, or the employer is not even notified that an accident has occurred; then, surprisingly, a lawsuit is filed against the company and the INS to claim medical care and compensation for temporary or permanent disabilities.

The worker's statement is not enough to prove that he has suffered a workplace injury since it is required that he demonstrate the causal link between the work performed and the damage suffered to his physical integrity.

However, since there is no evidence that the accident occurred according to the worker's declaration, this condition could not be classified as a work risk, even if the person has suffered a health condition.

If there is a lack of verification of the causal link between the work and the accident allegedly suffered –which cannot be presumed– it is common for the legal claim for a workplace injury to end up being declared without merit.

That is, regardless of whether the person has an injury, it is necessary to present proof that said damage occurred while working for the company.

Finally, it may happen that, within the Occupational Hazards process, once the worker is evaluated by the Occupational Medicine Section, Department of Forensic Medicine, of the Judicial Investigation Organism, the forensic medical opinion determines that it is not possible to establish a cause-effect relationship between the worker's health problem and the type of work performed; or that the alleged mechanism of trauma indicated by the worker does not fit the type of injury he has; or that the illness is the consequence of a pre-existing condition or the result of the normal evolution of a non-work-related illness.

The employer is obliged to collaborate with the INS, at its request, in the search for all kinds of evidence and to render the reports required to facilitate the investigation, according to article 214 of the Labor Code.

Therefore, if the employee alleges that he suffered an injury while working for his employer, he must prove that fact with relevant evidence. If he does not meet those requirements, the most likely consequence is that his claim will be rejected.

At Bufete Godínez y Asociados, we specialize in counseling and advising employers in labor and employment law. If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.


About the Autor

José Miguel Granados Benavides

José Miguel Granados Benavides

Litigation Area Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Phones +506 2289-5052 | +506 2282-2164 | +506 2289-5275
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