What is an accident at work? 

An accident at work is defined as an accident that occurs to the insured as a result of work or in the course of work. 

This very succinct definition in the law has been supplemented and clarified by case law. 

With regard to the requirement of a link between the accident and the work, it should be noted that according to two rulings of the Court of Cassation dating from 1979, which have set a precedent, any accident that occurred at the time and place of work is deemed to have occurred as a result of work. The incident which caused the injury to the human body must be qualified as an accident at work and it is up to the Accident Insurance Association to prove that the injury is due to a cause unrelated to the insured employment. 

However, the burden of proof of the time and place conditions and of the existence of an injury lies with the insured. 

At the time of the accident, there must be a connection between the insured employment and the activity that gave rise to the injury, as well as between the accidental event and the injury. In particular, the occupation in which the accident occurred must have been in the interest of the business in which the insured is employed. Furthermore, the insured must be in a subordinate relationship with the employer at the time of the accident. The accident must therefore occur because of the performance of the employment contract. 

What is a commuting accident?

The law also considers an accident at work to be one that occurs on the way to and from work: 

  • between the principal residence, a secondary residence of a stable nature or any other place to which the insured person habitually goes for family reasons and the place of work;
  • between the place of work and a restaurant, canteen or, more generally, the place where the insured person usually eats.

This route may not be the most direct one when the detour is necessary for regular carpooling. 

In addition, the following are also considered as commuting accidents: 

  • when travelling to drop off or pick up a child who lives in the same household as the insured person, from a third party to whom the insured person is obliged to leave the child with a caregiver so as to pursue his or her occupation;
  • when a recipient of full unemployment benefits reports to ADEM for a job interview or an active employment measure;
  • people going to the medical check-up or to the assessment and guidance unit;

Commuting accidents are not covered: 

  • which the insured has caused or to which he has contributed by his gross negligence;
  • if the journey was interrupted or diverted for a reason dictated by personal interest and unrelated to the essential; requirements of everyday life or independent of the insured activity;

The new text abandons the distinction that existed between private and public roads. 

Until now, an accident was not compensable as an accident at work when it occurred on private roads reserved for the exclusive use of the insured in question, such as the slope of his garage lane, but it was when it occurred on the private access roads of the company where he works, which was not consistent. 

From now on, the journey is covered from door to door, i.e. from the moment insured parties leave their main residence, their secondary residence which is stable, or any other place where he or she usually goes for family reasons, until he or she enters the building housing his or her place of work.