What is public property damage

Public service workers can also make mistakes - who is liable for them?

This is how civil servants and employees in the public service properly protect themselves!

Civil servants and employees in the public service can also make mistakes that cause great damage. Usually the employer is liable. In the event of willful intent or gross negligence, however, the employee has to pay for the damage. And that with his private assets.


With more than 4.6 million civil servants and employees in the public sector, someone can be harmed by faulty work. Because even the most experienced employee can make a mistake - that's human. Who pays for this damage? In short: in the worst case, the civil servants or employees themselves! Our examples show where something can go wrong, when the employee has to pay for it and how you can protect yourself against the consequences. Because if private assets are used to cover the damage, it can mean financial ruin!

When can it get tight with liability?

Whether the employee in the public service has to pay for damage depends on whether he caused it with slight negligence, gross negligence or even willfully. In simple terms, this means that the employee can only be made personally liable in the event of gross negligence or willful misconduct. In the case of slight negligence (which is always the case with damage, because without negligence there is no damage), the so-called “official liability” comes into force. This means in short that the employer pays for damages to third parties and can only reclaim the money from the civil servant or employee in the event of intent or gross negligence. The risk is particularly high as a first-time employee, because young employees have mostly not yet taken out professional liability insurance. At the beginning of your career there are so many other things that concern you ...

Liability with private assets - it can get tight very quickly!

Especially in the field of security professions - i.e. in the police, customs, justice, fire brigade and armed forces - there is a high risk that something will go wrong. Just think of the service weapon, which is usually included except for the fire brigade. It can be classified as grossly negligent if the employee handles the unlocked weapon and shoots a colleague. This officer not only has a disciplinary problem, but also a massive, financial one! In this case, hospital costs, rehab, compensation for pain and suffering etc. are claimed by the civil servant himself and can ruin him financially for life. You can find out more about official duties in the police service here.

When it comes to internal security, only one thing helps: perfect protection

Anyone who, as a civil servant - especially in the security sector - is on the road for even one day without appropriate professional liability insurance, is running an incalculable risk for himself and his family. These risks and special needs in the area of ​​internal security can be insured within the framework of a service and financial loss liability. It also protects, among other things, when working with equipment and weapons / ammunition as well as with service dogs / horses, motor vehicles that are not subject to insurance and the loss of non-personal and personal equipment. In short: if something should actually happen, the insurance company takes care of the claims settlement - and private assets remain untouched.

And anything else can happen - selected examples

Here we have a few examples of damage for you in a wide variety of areas - maybe your job will also be there?

Financial loss liability:

If an employee of the tax office delays the enforcement of the tax assessment too long, the tax liability becomes statute-barred and the state loses tax revenue.

If an employee of the public order office unjustifiably withdraws the restaurant permit from a restaurant owner, the restaurant owner can sue for loss of profit.

A customs officer detained a person because of an error when checking customs papers. For those detained, there is a loss of earnings and additional travel expenses

Public liability:

An employee of the youth welfare office violates his duty of supervision in the context of family care and a child suffers an accident as a result.

A judicial and law enforcement officer grants an inmate an unsupervised day and culture exit. The prisoner uses the outdoor area for various crimes. Enforcement should only have been relaxed if there was no reason to fear that the relaxation would be misused for criminal offenses.

A soldier in the German Armed Forces injured a comrade by an unwanted shot when he was not using the weapon properly.

In this way you can protect yourself as an employee in the public service in all areas

Of course, the best protection against harm is caution and responsible job performance. Even so, even a small carelessness can have major consequences, as the examples have shown you. Since you cannot be held responsible for slight negligence - and you certainly do not want to cause damage willfully - only gross negligence remains, which can be dangerous to you. And this is exactly what you can cover with public liability insurance and financial loss liability insurance as a civil servant or employee in the public sector. And if you think that as a teacher, for example, you have no risk at all, you should read this article ...

Lawyer needed? No problem!

And one more important point: these liability insurances also take on the defense against unjustified claims. This means: If you are accused of having caused damage for which you cannot be held responsible, service liability insurance or financial loss liability insurance acts as legal protection insurance, so to speak. The process will be carried out on your behalf and the legal, court and expert costs will be covered.

The PLUS for AXA customers

As a special insurer for civil servants and employees in the public sector, it is worthwhile to compare our tariffs and services. At DBV, the focus is on a package of products, services, advice and support that is specially tailored to the needs of the target group.

The perfect DBV mix provides all-round protection with risk accident insurance, service / occupational disability insurance, personal liability including service and property damage liability as well as health insurance as a supplement to aid, statutory health insurance or welfare or expectancy insurance. More information about the You can find products and services here.

In any case, it is advisable to be well prepared for a claim and to take out professional liability insurance. Only this provides reliable protection so that your private assets remain untouched in the event of the worst.

More information about the You can find professional liability here.

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