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Accident on the way to the Home Office from the Living to the Office Rooms not an occupational Accident

The route taken by the employee at the start of his/her employment is not covered by the law for accidents, either as a route to the place of work (Weg zur Arbeit) or as a route to work (Betriebsweg). This was decided by the North-Rhine Westphalia Regional Social Court (Landessozialgericht Nordrhein-Westfalen, LSG) in its ruling of November 9, 2020 (L 17 U 487/19). An area sales manager has been employed for several years in field service subject to compulsory insurance. In his job, he also regularly works from his home office. In September 2018, he fell down a spiral staircase on his way from his living quarters to his office rooms. In the process, he suffered a comminuted thoracic vertebral fracture. The defending Trade and Merchandise Logistics Employer's Liability Insurance Association (Berufsgenossenschaft Handel und Warenlogistik) refused to grant compensation benefits under the statutory accident insurance, claiming that the accident was not an occupational accident. The fall had occurred in the domestic sphere and not on an insured route. The area sales manager successfully appealed against this decision before the Aachen Social Court. On appeal, the LSG changed the first-instance ruling and dismissed the claim, stating that the conditions for an occupational accident were not met. The route taken was neither insured as a route to the place of work in accordance with Section 8 (2) No. 1 of the Seventh Book of the German Social Security Code (Siebtes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch), nor was it to be regarded as an insured route to work. In the case of accident en route insurance, the insurance coverage only begins when the employee passes through the front door of the building. According to the case law of the Federal Social Court (Bundesozialgericht, BSG), an employee working in a home office can never be insured for accidents en route to and from the place of work within the house or apartment. The assumption of a route to work was ruled out since the employee had been on the way to his study at the time of the fall down the stairs in order to take up his insured activity for the first time on the day of the accident. The routes to work are distances that are covered in the course of the insured activity. Pre- and post-processing activities of the insured work perfor-mance were not included. The employee had taken the route in order to start his insurable activity in the home office for the first time on the day of the accident. Appeal is pending before the BSG under the file number B 2 U 4/21 R.

(Source: press release of the North-Rhine Westphalia Regional Social Court)