Wrong turn costs woman right to income replacement

Making a wrong turn on the way home from work cost a Swedish woman her right to social insurance annuity payments for injuries sustained in a car accident.

The woman was driving home from her new job in Skurup to her home in Kävlinge in the southern Swedish county of Skåne when she got sun in her eyes, made a wrong turn, and ended up flipping over into a ditch, according to the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

The accident resulted in back and neck injuries so severe that the woman is now unable to work.

Under rules for Sweden’s state-run social insurance programme, a person injured on the job, or while in transit to or from a work site, has the right to an annuity which compensates the person for income lost as a result of the injury.

However, Sweden’s Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) argued that the woman’s right to compensation was nullified because she turned the wrong way on her way home.

“One assumes it is the nearest road or a regularly traveled route to and from work,” said Försäkringskassan’s Carina Söderberg to Sydsvenskan.

The woman succeeded in having the decision overturned by the Administrative Court in Malmö, only to have the insurance agency later appeal the ruling.

To strengthen its case, the agency pointed out that the woman was not directly on her way home, but had been running errands after work.

By siding with Försäkringskassan, the Administrative Court of Appeals has cost the woman annual payments equivalent to her income prior to the accident, with a ceiling of 307,500 kronor per year ($51,500).

The woman’s lawyer plans to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Administrative Court.

“I think the judgment is wrong. There are a few judgments on this issue and this case can’t be compared with them. We want to have a clarification,” said attorney Klas-Otto Sandberg to Sydsvenskan.