Work-related injuries

As I have previously mentioned in my articles, the majority of the questions I receive are regarding work-related concerns. It is also clear and evident to me that the law is unfortunately not easily accessible by the majority of the people living in Kuwait – expats!
I have received a very important question this week concerning a work-related injury that I have decided to share with you:

“Firstly, I want to thank you for making the legislations in Kuwait more accessible and understandable to us expats, as I am sure a lot of people would find this information extremely helpful. There isn’t enough information online about labor laws in Kuwait to empower the people that work in Kuwait, specifically the expats.

The reason I’m emailing you is because I want to get some preliminary advice regarding a scenario a friend of mine was involved in, who is a hardworking expat. My friend had a work-related injury where he was badly injured and therefore has been temporarily disabled and will be out of work for a period of probably three to six months.

Initially, the employee was given friendly advice from lawyer friends regarding compensation that would be settled by the courts of a rough estimate of about KD 15,000-30,000. The compensation/settlement was assumed to be coming from a third party company. This company helped set up equipment that led to the injury. My questions are:

Question: What is the expectation here in terms of compensation? Who compensates the employee who sustained a very serious injury at work?”
Fajer: Before answering your question, I would like to make one thing clear to my readers and clients. I do not answer questions asked on behalf of another client. In order for my answer to be legally accurate, I would need to speak to the person concerned. With that said, I will answer your questions generally and not specifically but would require your friend to contact me personally, and I assure you all will be confidential.
It is not for a lawyer to answer this question! The compensation amount is calculated by an expert hired by the court and therefore lawyers are not qualified to answer this question. With that said though, there is a law that states the amounts to be compensated for each body part injured.

According to the decree on the regulation of blood money (Diyah), loss of eyesight (even in one eye only) is compensated by KD 10,000, loss of hearing (even in one ear only) is compensated by KD 10,000, loss of one hand is compensated by KD 5,000, loss of one leg is compensated by KD 5,000, loss of thumb is compensated by KD 1,500, disjoint of bones is compensated by KD 1,500, and a scar is compensated by KD 500.
These figures are for injuries that were by accident and are not directly because of your friend’s acts. For example, if an employee is obligated to wear head protection while working as per his company’s policies or rules and regulations, yet the employee does not abide with this, then the employee is responsible for any injuries that may occur due to his carelessness.

Question: Is this something that is done through the court or can this be settled outside the courts? And if so, how long is this process?
Fajer: It can be settled by negotiation or by court, and honestly it is better for both parties to negotiate amicably to agree to an amount outside of court. Going to court will cost both parties legal fees as well as time and may butcher the relationship between the employee and the employer. Taking the matter to court will initially take around 8 months minimum and could take years.

Question: The employer has offered KD 3,000 in cash (half a year’s worth of salary) with no salary for the time that is taken away from work and the employee is expected to be possibly out of work for 3-4 months? This does not sound correct to me – what do you think?
Fajer As I have mentioned above, it is not for me or any other lawyer to estimate and since I do not even know what your friend’s injury is exactly, I cannot make any assumptions. Your friend should be compensated for the months he is off as this should be a medical leave (just as long as it does not turn into a permanent disability). I am assuming here as well that your friend works in the private sector.
I hope your friend has a quick recovery and I hope that his or her employee compensates him fairly. Thank you for emailing me and your kind words, and I hope you find the above helpful.

For any legal questions or queries, email [email protected].

By Attorney Fajer Ahmed

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