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certificate, and in any case not later than twenty days after the accident. In case of dispute as to the amount of compensation, the insurance company pays the amount which it thinks due and the disputed amount only is withheld. The subsequent payments must be made within intervals of seven days, and after the expiration of the first three months advance payments must be made until ninetenths of the amount is paid out which the insurance institution thinks is due to the injured person. If the insurance company does not hold itself responsible it may decline to pay, but must state the reasons in writing.
The insurance company may delegate the employer to pay the compensation for temporary disability, reimbursing him subsequently, but the employer must demand evidence of disability before making such payments.
If the establishment possesses an infirmary, organized by the employer, in which the workmen are regularly treated, and the injured employee is being treated there with his consent, one-third of the daily compensation due is paid by the insurance company into the treasury of the infirmary.
PERMANENT DISABILITY.—Within eight days after the receipt of the final medical cetificate the insurance company (or association, etc.) must determine the amount of the compensation for permanent disability; the insurance company must inform the injured person of this amount and its estimate of the nature and degree of disability, the reasons for arriving at this conclusion, the wage used in the computation, the decrease in the wage which may have taken place as a result of the disability, and the amount of advance payments made. If the workman accepts the opinion of the insurance company the amount must be paid within eight days after notice of such acceptance is given. In case of delay the usual interest must be added to the amount of compensation.
If the workman disagrees with the insurance company, he states the reasons in writing, and if his demands are not complied with within fifteen days he may carry the case to the courts, as provided for in the law.
The regulations governing the conditions of payment of compensation for total permanent disability, or for partial permanent disability which reduces the earning capacity by at least 50 per cent, are quite complicated, due to the intent of the law that such compensation be transformed into annuities. At the same time the conditions of
payment are further complicated by the necessity of postponing such conversion for two years, lest some material change should take place in the condition of the injured employee which would necessitate a change in the amount of compensation.
The insurance company pays the amount due, after deductions for advance payments made, to the National Old-Age and Invalidity Insurance Institution, and it is then free from any further liability, unless there should be a request for revision within two years. If the injured person should die before the indemnity was converted into an annuity, and if it should be established that the death was a consequence of the accident, then the legal dependents according to the law present to the old-age insurance institution evidence as to the death of the injured person, the opinion of the medical examiner as to the cause of death and other evidence of their right to receive the compensation. Then the amount due, after deductions for the payments made and with interest added, is distributed among the heirs according to the law. If the death is not due to the accident, the amount is paid to the legal heirs according to the Civil Code.
If death does not occur the conversion is made after the expiration of the two years' period, but the monthly allowances are continued for two months more, and their value discounted from the amount used to purchase the annuity.
To obtain the remaining amount of compensation as a lump sum the injured workman must petition the local magistrate (pretor) in writing, stating the reasons for his request. In the decision of the pretor the reasons for granting or declining the request must be stated in writing.
FATAL ACCIDENTS.-In case of death the insurance company must take the necessary steps within twenty days to establish the amount of compensation due. Those who claim compensation must hand in claims with the necessary evidence, and the insurer must within eight days inform them of the amount of computed compensation, stating the wage rate used for compensation and the advance payments deducted. If a dispute arises the insurance company must pay temporary allowances up to nine-tenths of the amount which the insurance company admits as due, at semimonthly intervals, to all the legal claimants; the sum of this allowance per day must not exceed one-half the daily wage of the deceased. But if the dispute concerns merely the right of compensation no such preliminary payments need be made. If the insurance company receives no information as to the existence of legal heirs it must so report to the ministry, stating also the amount of compensation granted, the
wage rate used in computing it, and the total amount paid out and the amount to be deducted. The ministry may verify the accounts and order the insurance company to transfer the amount due to the guarantee fund as soon as the year has elapsed.
REVISION OF BENEFITS.
Both the victim of the accident and the insurance company may ask for a revision of the compensation during the two years following the accident, if the first decision was unfair or if changes had taken place in the physical condition of the injured workman. In case of a fatal accident, a request for revision must be made within two months from the day of death. As was explained above, it was for the purpose of leaving an opening for such revision that the compensation in cases of total permanent disability or partial permanent disability of 50 per cent or over was to be held in trust for two years by the old-age insurance institution.
In making application for revision of compensation the insured person must present a medical certifieate, stating either that the earlier judgment was incorrect or that the condition had since become aggravated. If the dependents under the law make the request for such revision the physician must certify that the death was due to the accident. Within one month from the date of the application the insurance company must either grant or decline to grant a new rate of compensation, stating the reasons for declination in writing. In case of declination the claimant may bring the claim into court. The insurance company must apply to the court for revision of the compensation granted.
SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES.
Disputes arising out of the compensation for temporary disability are to be adjudicated by the local trade (arbitration) courts, whose decisions involving amounts up to 200 lire ($38.60) are final. In the absence of such arbitration courts the case is brought before the local magistrate (pretor). Cases involving amounts of more than 200 lire ($38.60) must be carried to the ordinary courts, but in such cases counsel is not required and the cases are exempt from stamp dues. The court expenses are very low: For amounts up to 50 lire ($9.65), 50 centesimi (9.7 cents); for 50 to 100 lire ($9.65 to $19.30), 1 lira (19.3 cents); and 2 lire (38.6 cents) for each additional 100 lire.
SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR SEAMEN.
Numerous special provisions for seamen are contained in both the law and the regulations. Some of these are necessary because the peculiar character of this occupation demands deviations from the general procedure. The necessity for other exceptions is not so obvious. Some exceptions have already been noted. Thus no distinction is made between wage-workers and salaried employees, and all members of the crew receiving 2,100 lire ($405.30) per annum or less are insured.
The scale of compensation is considerably lower in case of permanent disability (four times the annual wages instead of six) and death (three times the annual wages instead of five). As to temporary disability, previous legislation has granted seamen the right to their full wages, besides the cost of medical and surgical treatment, for four months in case of illness or injury. This right is reaffirmed by the new law, and the right to the temporary disability compensation under the law begins only after the expiration of the four months.
For the purposes of this law the person or corporation chartering the vessel is considered the responsible employer. When a vessel is lost, or for lack of information is considered lost, and no certificate of death is therefore possible, the legal claimants may enter their claims six months after the day of shipwreck or of the date of the information last received. The term of one year within which claims may be made begins after the expiration of these six months.
In such cases the payments must be made under bonds, which are to hold good for three years from the expiration of the period of six months, and during these three years the compensation is subject to revision if any information is obtained from the person supposedly lost.
Wages of seamen are computed by dividing the remuneration stipulated for the whole voyage plus the cost of subsistence, as per pay roll, by the number of days the voyage lasts. The annual earnings are computed as 300 times the daily wage. The cost of subsistence must be entered in the pay roll for each seaman, according to local custom at the port where he shipped.
The report of the accident must be made by the captain and signed by two witnesses. It must be transmitted to the local port authorities, and if the accident has happened during the voyage, to the authorities of the first Italian port reached. If there is a physician on the ship he must certify to the report; otherwise a physician's examination and certificate must be obtained at the first port of landing.
The three days' limit for making an accident report runs from the day of the arrival of a ship in an Italian port or in a foreign port having an Italian consul. Investigations of fatal accidents and of those leading to disability for over thirty days must be made by the port authorities or by the Italian consul.
PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS.
Regulations for the prevention of accidents are included in the accident insurance law. The purpose of the combination of these two fairly distinct measures in one act seems to have been to coun
act the common objection against obligatory accident insurance that it tends to make both employers and employees less careful and accidents more frequent.
The law authorizes the minister, after consultation with employers and government expert councils, to publish regulations concerning the prevention of accidents and for the protection of the workmen's life and limb. Compliance with such regulations is demanded by the law, and noncompliance is punishable by fines. These regulations may be issued for separate branches of industry, and also for certain localities. The minister must enforce such compliance with the regulations. For the preparation of regulations one or more of the following bodies must be consulted: The council of industry and commerce, the mining council, the superior council for public works, the superior committee for railroads, the council for forestry, the council for the merchant marine, and in all cases the superior council of labor.
In addition, the employers' compulsory mutual accident insurance associations are permitted to include in their constitutions provisions for prevention of accidents.
INSPECTION.–For the purpose of enforcing compliance with the requirements concerning insurance and prevention of accidents the ministry may avail itself of the services of the factory inspectors, mining inspectors, and the inspectors and engineers of the ministries of public works and of the marine, as well as of the technical employees of the societies for prevention of accidents and the employers' mutual accident insurance associations and the inspectors of the National Accident Insurance Institution. Special officers may be detailed for inspection in connection with the work.
Persons intrusted with inspection of industrial establishments are prohibited from having any direct or indirect interest in any industrial undertaking, or from being employed by such private establishments in the capacity of engineers, chemists, or physicians.
All establishments and undertakings must be regularly inspected at least once in two years, and special inspections may be ordered by the minister or by the prefect at any time. The inspectors must ascertain whether the preventive regulations and the insurance requirements have been complied with. They have the right to visit the establishments, to question the employers, the supervising employees, and workmen, and to inspect the general and individual wage books, the insurance contract, and all necessary documents. They must make reports to the ministry, making the necessary observations and recommendations, and certifying to any infringement of the law and regulations. A copy of the report must also be sent to the local judiciary authority and to the prefect. The report must be signed by the employer, or by his representative and the inspector. The employer may state his explanations.
Compulsory mutual accident insurance associations must organize an independent inspection service over the establishments subject to its jurisdiction. Its inspectors may apply to the police for assistance in case they are hindered in their work, and the employers must not place any obstacles in the way of their work, under penalty of a fine of from 20 to 300 lire ($3.86 to $57.90).