How much do you think your body is worth? It might be very hard to answer this question, because what could be more expensive and more important to you than your health? I would think that our bodies are priceless, but not by law. Kuwaiti law has put a price on our body parts – for instance, each arm and foot is worth KD 5,000.
Although it may sound absurd, the reason why legislations put prices on our body parts is because when people are physically hurt, they can ask to be compensated by court accordingly. This makes it easier for the courts to bring about justice and calculate how much the compensation should be.
Today, I have looked into different issues that my current clients have dealt with that involved physical injuries. But before I go on to answer the questions and explain to you our rights when it comes to injuries, I want you to know not everything needs to be taken to court. A lot of things can be settled amicably outside of court. I think you should still use a lawyer to negotiate for you, but if your lawyer is great, they will know that they don’t always have to take matters to court.
I personally got involved in a car accident a few days ago, and although I was injured and I know my rights, I decided not to take the matter to court. We settled things amicably and in very simple terms. I hope we can all learn to be compassionate towards each other and learn how to figure things out.
Question: I was driving to my granddad’s house when I got hit from behind by another car. This accident caused me to break my arm. Can I get compensated for it?
Fajer: I will assume that there was no criminal intent and that it was just a regular accident, which let’s be honest, happens very often in Kuwait. Then yes, you could go to court and get compensation, but how much is your body worth? According to a decree, here are a few body parts and their worth (this is regardless of the cause of the injury – the amounts below are what body parts are worth for unintentional injuries).
1. Scar – KD 500
2. Hand – KD 5,000
3. Leg – KD 5,000
4. Spinal cord – KD 10,000
5. Loss of thumb – KD 1,500
6. Ear or eye – KD 5,000
Question: I work for an oil company as an engineer and as I was out in the oilfields, I slipped on the stairs and fell on the floor, hurting my right shoulder. I was wearing all my safety gear, but I don’t know why I slipped as it happened very quickly. I was wondering if I can file a lawsuit and get compensated because of the accident. Some of my colleagues are saying no, I can’t get compensated because it wasn’t my employer’s fault and others are saying no as well, because as employees of the oil industry, we are being paid high salaries that should compensate us for putting ourselves in danger every day. Is this true?
Fajer: Yes, you are entitled to compensation for your work injury. In fact, not only are you compensated, but your employer should pay for your healthcare, and continue paying you your full salary for the first six months while you get treatment. If you require more time off from work, then your employer will continue paying you half your salary until you are better and get back to work. This is in accordance to Kuwait labor law.
Unfortunately in Kuwait, there are a large number of employers who do not take care of their employees and do not provide them with safe working environments, causing a lot of workers to suffer and get injured. Please be careful and ask your employers to follow safety requirements.
There is a lot more that I would like to share with you about work-related injuries, so I will focus on this topic next week too. Please email me if you have any concerns. Although I really do think all humans are priceless, I hope you understand how much you are worth by law and what your rights are.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed