Nothing is off-limits these days! A man who fell down the stairs of his apartment and injured his back has been allowed to claim the equivalent of worker’s comp.
According to The Guardian, the unnamed man was making his way down his spiral staircase from his bedroom to his computer, one floor below, when he slipped and broke a thoracic vertebrae.
He claimed it was a workplace accident and attempted to claim compensation, but his company’s insurance company rejected it — which brought the unusual case to court.
Two lower courts disagreed: the social court viewed the first morning journey from bed to the home office as an insured work route, but the regional social court judged it as an “uninsured preparatory act that only precedes the actual activity.” So the matter was referred to the higher Federal Social Court … which agreed with the former.
In its decision, the court pointed out that the man usually started work “immediately without having breakfast beforehand,” and that statutory accident insurance only covered the “first” journey to work — suggesting that had he made it to his desk uninjured, but then fallen en route to the kitchen to get something to eat, he may not have been covered.
In his appeal against the original rejection, the man had argued that “not least in view of the current pandemic, many people worked from home. With regard to the protection provided by the statutory accident insurance, these should not be worse off than the employees in the company.”
“The way to start working in the home office in the private apartment must therefore be an insured company route.”
The higher court agreed.
“The plaintiff suffered an accident at work when he fell on the way to his home office in the morning,” it said in its decision.
“According to the binding findings of the lower instance, walking the stairs to the home office was only used to start work for the first time and is therefore insured as a service in the interests of the employer.”