In a decision of May 29, 2019 (n° 18-16183), the Court of Cassation ruled that an heart attack occurring on arrival in the company should be considered as an accident at work, despite the presence of prior symptoms when the journey from home to work.

In the present case, an employee had died of a heart attack while he had just arrived at his place of work.

The employer however disputed the assumption of responsibility of the accident under the professional legislation.

Disappointed by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal, he appealed on points of law.

In support of his appeal, the appellant argued that the presumption of liability for the accident at work was not applicable to the case at hand for two reasons:

• the injury did not occur suddenly at the time and place of work, the first symptoms being felt before the arrival of the employee in the company;

• the employee was not under his authority at the time of the accident, since he had gone directly to the break room and had not started his work.

It was necessary to show that the discomfort felt by the employee was not an accident at work but rather a commuting accident, a situation more favorable for the employer.

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c. cass. May 29, 2019, No. 18-16183

Frédéric CHHUM, avocat and Member of the Paris Bar Council (Conseil de l’ordre des avocats de Paris)

CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)


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