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Occupational Accidents and Action for Compensation

Occupational Accidents and Action for Compensation

05 Ocak 2023

The concept of "work-related accident" refers to an accident arising entirely from working life and is one of the leading occupational risks.

Occupational accidents are defined in the doctrine as an event that causes bodily or mental damage to the insured due to a sudden and external factor due to the work or work required while the insured is at the employer's orders and instructions. [1] In the first place, the event must be related to the workplace and employment to be defined as an occupational accident. [2]

The employer will be liable for compensation since there will be a convenient causal connection with the employee who has been injured while executing the employer's orders and instructions and fulfilling his obligation to work.

Conditions Considered as Occupational Accidents

According to the 13th article of the Social Security Law No. 5510, the cases that are considered as work-related accident and which can be filed for compensation are as follows:

a) While the insured is at the workplace,

b) If the insured works independently and account on his own due to the work carried out by the employer,

c) When the insured working for an employer is sent to another place outside the workplace as an official, without performing his main job,

d) During the times reserved for the breastfeeding woman insurance holder to give milk to her child in accordance with the labor legislation,

e) It is an event that occurs during the insured's travel to and from the place where the work is done with a vehicle provided by the employer and that immediately or later renders the insured physically or mentally disabled. In practice, such accidents are called traffic accidents.

As stated in the article of the law, in order for the employer to be held responsible for the damage suffered by the worker as a result of the work accident, the accident must have occurred while the worker was under the employer's orders and instructions. The full fault or intent of the third person breaks the causal link. [3]

Notification of a Work Accident

According to Article 13/2 of the Social Security Law No. 5510, an occupational accident is notified by the employer immediately to the authorized law enforcement officers of that place and to the institution within three working days after the accident at the latest, or by the worker himself, provided that his illness does not prevent reporting and that it does not exceed one month. It is obligatory to notify the Social Security Institution, directly or by registered mail, of a work accident or occupational disease declaration within the working day. If the work accident occurs in a location beyond the employer's control, it begins on the date the work accident is discovered. 

If the work accident is not reported by the worker or the employer or is not acknowledged as a work-related accident, a declaratory action of the occupational accident should be filed.

Damages in a Compensation Action

Workers whose bodily integrity is violated as a result of an occupational accident or who are deprived of their support may request financial compensation for treatment expenses, loss of earnings, damages arising from the loss of working power, and damages arising from the deterioration of their economic future. (Turkish Code of Obligations, art. 54)

Those who are deprived of the support of the worker in the event of death may claim funeral expenses, treatment expenses if the death did not occur immediately, losses arising from the decrease or loss of working power, and the losses incurred by those who are deprived of the support of the deceased. (TCO art.53)

Employees who suffer from an occupational accident or who are deprived of their support may request non-pecuniary damages from the employer or third parties who caused the accident. (TCO art.56) Non-pecuniary damage cannot be divided and can be claimed at once. [4] Non-pecuniary damage cannot be increased by a new lawsuit or correction unless the disability rate of the worker or the insured rises.

Statute of Limitations for Compensation Action

The period for filing an action for compensation due to an occupational accident (the "prescription period") is 10 years from the date of the occupational accident. (Turkish Code of Obligations art.146).

In the case of disability as a result of a work-related accident, compensation is subject to a 10-year limitation period, which will run from the date the disability becomes definite. [5,6]

Right to File a Claim

An employee who suffered damage in an occupational accident can file a lawsuit for pecuniary damages. If the worker is dead, those who are deprived of his support have the right to sue. For example; spouse, child, mother, father, adoption have the right to sue.

As a rule, the respondent is the employer who employs the worker. If the injured worker is a subcontractor at the workplace or on a portion of the job, both the main employer and the subcontractor may be held jointly and severally liable for compensation. [7]

In order for the occupational accident to be mentioned by Social Security Law and for the Social Security Institution to be held responsible for work accidents occurring abroad, there must be a social security agreement that imposes an obligation on the SSI or a community insurance between the employer and SSI. [8]

Court of Competent Jurisdiction 

According to Article 6 of the Labor Courts Law No. 7036, the Labor Court has jurisdiction to hear the cases regarding all kinds of legal disputes arising from the contract or the law due to the employment relationship between the workers subject to service contracts and the employer or vice principals.

The competent court to deal with occupational accidents is included in the aforementioned article. According to the article;

- In cases to be filed in labor law courts, the competent court is the court of the place of residence of the respondent, whether a real or legal person on the date of the lawsuit, and the court of the place where the work or transaction is carried out.

- If there is more than one respondent, the court of residence of one of them is also competent.

- In compensation cases arising from work-related accidents, the court of the place where the occupational accident or damage occurred and the place of residence of the injured worker are also competent.

- Authorization agreements contrary to the provisions of this article are invalid.


To summarize, the employer's liability for compensation for occupational accidents arises from a breach of contract (violation of the duty to protect the worker). According to the Supreme Court of Appeals, the employer is held liable in a work-related accident even if there is no fault and the event is inevitable, if there is a causal connection. [9]



Leyla Sarı





1. Seratlı Gaye Burcu. Compensation for Lack of Support Due to Occupational Accident. Ankara : Yetkin Publications, 2003.

2. Sources, Tuğray/Adal, Zeki/Ataay, İsmail/ Uyargil, Cavide/ Sadullah, Ömer/ Acar, A.Cevat/ Özçelik, Oya/ Dündar, Gönen/ Uluhan, Reha. Human Resources Management IU. Faculty of Business Publication No: 276 Istanbul. 1998

3. Supreme Court 9.CC. 2181/2655 15.03.1987 Date.

4. Supreme Court 21.CC. 2000/4323 File no. 2000/4428 Decree no. 01.06.2000 Date.

5. Supreme Court 21. CC. 2013/23848 File no. 2013/3597 Decree no. 21.02.2013 Date.

6. Supreme Court 21. CC. 2013/17844 File no. 2013/4424 Decree no. 12.03.2013 Date.

7. Supreme Court Assembly of Civil Chambers, 2012/21-732 File no. 2013/207 Decree no. 06.02.2013 Date.

8. Supreme Court 21.CC. 2013/10502 File no. 2013/1274 Decree no. 28.01.2013 Date.

9. Unified Decision of Supreme Court, 27.03.1957 Date. 1/3 Decree no. 1/3

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