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Disabled labourer wins retrial

Federal Supreme court rejects lower panel's decision to deny compensation for worker injured on job site.

ABU DHABI // The Federal Supreme Court has rejected a lower court's decision that a company was not required to compensate a labourer for a disability incurred while he was on the job.

The labourer, whose name was not disclosed in court documents, fell from a high floor while he was trying to fix machinery belonging to the company. He suffered broken bones in several places, the documents said, and was permanently disabled.

He filed a lawsuit under federal labour laws against his company and his insurance company and demanded Dh5,000 in compensation and Dh67,820 for medical treatment.

The Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance ordered the company to pay him Dh472,800 and the insurance firm to pay Dh250,000. Both companies appealed. They argued that fixing the machinery was not part of his job, therefore he was not injured while on duty.

A company foreman testified before the Appeal Court that he had assigned the man to the job. But the court rejected the testimony, stating: "He said that, apparently, to avoid responsibility for the accident himself."

The Appeal Court rejected the previous verdict and ordered the labourer to pay costs and fees for the lawyers and the court.

The man appealed to the Federal Supreme Court, which ruled the Appeal Court's decision was erroneous and ordered a retrial.

Chief Justice Shehab al Hammadi, who presided over the case, wrote that the lower court erred by ignoring the foreman's testimony without a valid reason. He also said labourers injured while on duty should be compensated as long as they did not intentionally harm themselves, did not disobey safety rules and regulations and were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The case will be tried under a new panel.


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