1. Q: Is it a must to go to court for work injury claims?
A: No, under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, with the consent of 4 parties, namely the injured employee, the employer, the Labour Department and the insurance company involved, the Labour Department can perform medical assessment for the injured employee and assess the amount of compensation. At the same time, the Labour Department can help the employee recover outstanding compensation payment(s) from the employer. It can also investigate doubtful employees’ compensation claims for the employer or insurance company.
2. Q: Under what circumstances should an injured employee claim compensation through the court?
A: The following circumstances:
- Employer (or insurance company) disputes liability
- Employer defaults in payment without good reasons or the company closed down
- There is dispute as to compensation items, such as “area of injury”, “salary calculation” and “medical assessment result” etc.
- It takes probably more than 2 years to deal with the case
- After getting medical assessment for two times, the employee is still unsatisfied with the result
- The case required application for Employees’ Compensation Assistance Fund
If any of the first three scenarios above is applicable, you may first seek assistance from the Labour Department to resolve the case. You may consider going to court if the Labour Department is unable to assist you to resolve the case.
3. Q: What types of costs will be incurred in a work injury claim?
A: Most of the costs come from legal fees for appointing lawyers, as well as administrative expenses for getting reports and documents, and fees for appointing experts to give expert opinion to the court. The court is a public service and only nominal court fees will be involved.
4. Q: What are the possible ways to commence a claim in court?
A: You may (a) apply for legal aid, (b) appoint a private lawyer, or (c) commence a claim in court on your own after being referred by the Labour Department (not recommended).