Commuting Accident - a Definition
A commuting accident is a specific form of a workplace accident, precisely defined in § 8 of the Seventh Book of the Social Code (SGB VII). It occurs when the following conditions are met:
- An accident happens on the way from the insured person's residence to their workplace.
- An accident happens on the way back from work to home.
It's important to note that, in general, only the direct route between the private residence and the workplace is insured.
Example: Commuting Accident in your Second Residence
If an employee has a second residence in close proximity to the workplace, the journeys between both private residences and the workplace are insured. The same principle applies to another residence that is considered the person's primary place of residence according to the law.
For example, if an employee spends their free time with their life partner and commutes from their partner's residence to their workplace daily, this commuting route is also covered by insurance.
Are Detours Insured?
The answer depends on the nature of the detour.
In general, insurance coverage extends to detours that are necessary for a specific reason. This is the case when:
- The employee entrusts their children living in their household to someone else during working hours.
- A carpool exists for the commute to and from work.
- A detour is required due to unusual traffic conditions.
- A longer commute allows the employee to reach the workplace more quickly.
On the other hand, insurance coverage does not apply when detours are motivated through personal reasons or when a commute break exceeds two hours. The insured person voluntarily deviates from their commute when they:
- Visit a gas station along the way.
- Go shopping for breakfast or lunch at a stationary store.
- Attend a private medical appointment.
- Visit friends on the way home from work.
Sick Leave – Rights and Obligations for Employees
Get a quick understanding of how sick leave works, how and if it can lead to termination, and what happens when your children are ill. Also, important: the topic of continued pay. We've compiled everything for you.
Commuting and Workplace Accidents: What's the Difference?
The main difference between these two types of accidents lies in the situations in which they occur in the professional life of an individual. A commuting accident happens on the way to or from the workplace to home, while a workplace accident occurs during the course of employment.
The definition of a commuting route is important here. According to the definition, the commuting route begins when the employee leaves their place of residence or the company office. It ends when the employee crosses the outer door of their place of residence or enters the company's office doors.
The distinction between the two types of accidents can be illustrated with the following examples of commuting accidents: If an employee falls down the stairs in their own residence, the legal insurance does not apply, as the accident did not occur on the commuting route.
It is different when the fall occurs outdoors on the way to the garage or on the public staircase outside the apartment building. In this case, the accident during the commute is covered by insurance, provided other conditions for recognizing the accident are met, including the detours mentioned earlier.
What to Do in Case of a Commuting Accident: The Right Procedure
If an accident occurs during the commute to work, the injured person should follow the same procedure as they would for a regular workplace accident. The first and most important step is to seek medical care, either at a hospital or with the responsible occupational physician, depending on the injured person's condition.
Afterwards, it is essential to report the commuting accident. Both the employee and the employer have a reporting obligation: if a doctor diagnoses work disability lasting for more than three days, the employer must report the accident to the professional association.
Commuting Accident and the Professional Association
Regarding commuting accidents and the professional association, the following questions arise:
- Is the injured person entitled to compensation?
- Who pays it, and in what situations?
- Can the injured person rely on continued wage payments?
In general, the professional association does not pay a compensation for commuting accidents. An entitlement to such compensation arises only if intentional harm by a supervisor or another employee is alleged. Otherwise, the statutory accident insurance covers the compensation.
Regarding continued wage payments for commuting accidents, the same rules apply as for workplace accidents. Continued wage payments are only guaranteed if specific conditions are met. To claim continued wage payments, the injured person must not be at fault for the accident, and the employee must have worked for the company without interruption for at least four weeks. In cases where these conditions are not met, the insurance company pays injury benefits.
Commuting Accident Occurred: Who Pays for Property Damage?
Neither the responsible professional association nor the statutory accident insurance covers property damage resulting from a commuting accident. Normally, such property damage is covered by the respective insurance, such as a car insurance, provided that the injured person was not at fault for the accident.