A concerned employer has asked me about Injury On Duty (IOD) compensation relating to a car accident in which one of his employees was involved nearly a year ago.

Ten months ago, the employee was on his way to a client, in a company vehicle, when he stopped at a traffic light and was hit by a car swerving to avoid a mini bus taxi.

The car crashed into the employee’s vehicle from behind, ramming it into the stationary vehicle in front of him. All three vehicles were damaged.

The unfortunate employee had whiplash, sustained a neck injury and was treated for shock. He was off work for three days, saw a chiropractor and wore a neck brace for several weeks.
The employer paid all medical costs incurred, but the accident was not reported as an IOD.

So, our reader wants to know if the accident can still be reported as an IOD should his employee’s injuries start worrying him – even though the incident occurred some time ago.

Can he still claim compensation for the medical costs covered and, if so, what steps must he take to do so?

Firstly, I urge employers not to feel so burdened with worry about IODs, since the IOD route is in place to avoid this. The procedure is simple – report the incident to the IOD Centre and do not pay any medical bills.

As employer, you have 12 months in which to report an injury on duty. Your employee, however, must report the incident to you as soon as possible after it has happened.

Should an employee experience injury-related problems resulting from an accident which happened several months previously – as may be the case with our reader’s staff member – then the employer may still complete a WCL2 form (available at the local Department of Labour or at www.labour.gov.za) and report the incident to the Compensation Commissioner as an IOD.

Regarding claiming compensation, yes, the employer may report the incident and claim back medical expenses paid. If none were paid, the employee may claim 75% of his salary if he was off work following the accident.

Should the employer submit a claim to recover medical costs, the document must contain a full history of all doctors’ visits and reports. These reports and invoices, as well as proof of payment, must be sent to the Compensation Commissioner’s office in Pretoria for the attention of their medical payments department.

Of course, I’m not advocating only reporting an incident months after it took place – this is not acceptable. Any injury, no matter how insignificant, must be reported as soon as possible.

The problem with not doing so is that a small injury may grow more serious as time passes, incurring more unexpected cost for the employer if the matter is not handled correctly from the beginning.

If an IOD is opened immediately after an injury, a case file can be re-opened should an employee experience any aggravation with that same injury for up to two years after the initial accident.

The safest route is to report accidents, no matter how small, directly after they take place.

Send your labour and injury on duty questions to coetzee@fullstopcom.com.

Booysen & Rossouw Attorneys in Port Elizabeth specialises in labour related legislation. The firm also covers injury on duty cases as well as all other aspects of the law.

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
041 368 4992
082 575 7991

On behalf of:

Booysen & Rossouw Attorneys