What employees have to do in the event of a commuting accident

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In the event of a commuting accident, employees receive statutory accident insurance benefits. © Christin Klose / dpa-tmn

Accidents can happen on the way to work. Then there is talk of commuting accidents. But what does that mean for employees? And what if you work in the home office?

Berlin – Many employees are on the way to and from work twice a day. If an accident then happens, the accident insurance cover takes effect. But what does that mean exactly? And why is this relevant for employees?

The most important facts at a glance:

What are commuting accidents?

If employees have an accident on the way to or from work, it is a commuting accident. You are covered by your employer’s statutory accident insurance. According to the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS), insurance cover begins when employees leave their home. It ends as soon as employees reach their place of work. Conversely, the same applies to the way home.

The immediate route is generally insured. “This is not necessarily the shortest or fastest route,” explains Eberhard Ziegler from the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV). If there are diversions on the way to and from work, for example due to a construction site or a traffic jam, employees on this route are also legally insured against accidents.

This also applies to necessary detours. For example, to take the child to daycare so that employees can do their jobs. Or when several people join together in a car pool and the employee is on the way to the agreed meeting point.

When are there exceptions?

Detours for other private reasons are not insured according to the BMAS. This applies, for example, when you take a little detour on the way to work and buy a roll at the bakery. “A detour to visit friends on the way home is also not insured,” says Ziegler.

Most recently, the insurance coverage for employees working from home was extended by law. What does that mean?

In June 2021, the legal regulation in the social security code for employees was adapted. The sentence was added: “If the insured activity is carried out in the household of the insured person or at another location, insurance cover is provided to the same extent as when the activity is carried out on the company premises.”

In addition, parents are now insured who work in the home office but leave the house to bring their offspring to childcare facilities or to pick them up from there. “Otherwise there are no accidents on the way to work in the home office, if you disregard going to the company on individual days,” says Ziegler.

Why is insurance coverage so important?

In contrast to a private accident, those affected by a commuting accident receive all the benefits to which they are entitled from a single source: from the statutory accident insurance. “This has a more far-reaching legal mandate in medical treatment than health insurance,” says Ziegler.

In the statutory accident insurance, medical treatment and rehabilitation must be carried out using “all suitable means”. “In health insurance, on the other hand, it is important that the doctor’s work is sufficient and appropriate,” says Ziegler.

What does this mean in concrete terms for the insured?

Statutory accident insurance, for example, has no cost limits. In addition, in the event of a commuting accident, there are no additional payments for medication or inpatient hospital stays.

In addition, those affected receive what is known as injury benefit while they are unable to work. “The injury benefit is 80 percent of the standard pay, maximum the lost standard pay,” said Ziegler. For comparison: the sick pay is 70 percent of the standard wage, a maximum of 90 percent of the lost net earnings.

Insured persons are also entitled to a possibly lifelong pension should health problems persist despite treatment and rehabilitation measures.

How do employees proceed in the event of a commuting accident?

After the accident insurance pays the treatment costs in the event of a commuting accident, those affected must see a doctor in charge. These are usually specialists in orthopedics and trauma surgery. Anyone looking for a suitable doctor can use the DGUV database.

D-doctors decide on the treatment of the employees and inform the statutory accident insurance. In addition, the person concerned must also inform the employer of the accident.

“However, employees only have to see a D-doctor if the injury sustained in the commuting accident leads to incapacity for work beyond the day of the accident,” says Ziegler. The same applies in the event that, for example, the necessary medical treatment is likely to take more than a week or remedies and aids are to be prescribed.

Who bears the costs for statutory accident insurance?

Statutory accident insurance assumes the employer’s liability not only for commuting accidents, but also for work-related accidents and occupational diseases of employees. This means that companies do not have to fear claims for damages from their employees.

In order to finance the tasks of the accident insurance institutions, the companies have to pay contributions that differ from branch to branch. Employees themselves do not have to pay anything. dpa


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