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Employer not liable for repo man running over employee


An Express Script Inc. sales associate run over by a tow truck driver repossessing his car from his employer's parking lot is not entitled to workers compensation benefits, a Florida appeals court ruled.

The sales associate in the case of Sentry Insurance Co. and Express Script Inc. vs. Leon Hamlin missed making car payments for two months and was in his workplace cubicle when he learned the tow truck driver was near his car.

The claimant hurried out to the parking lot and was later retrieving personal text books from the car already hooked to the truck. He was partly in the car, but still had his feet on the ground, when the truck driver took off.

The tow truck driver dragged the claimant and eventually ran over him.

There is no dispute that the accident occurred in the course and scope of employment, court records state. But Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal had to determine whether the accident met an “arising out of work performed” standard.

A work comp judge had already ruled the claim was compensable.

But on appeal, the employer and insurer argued that in order to be compensable a risk

cannot be personal to the claimant or “imported” to the workplace by the claimant.

Mr. Hamlin offered several arguments. He said the injury should be compensable because it happened on his employer's premises while he was on a paid break and doing an activity implicitly permitted by his employer.

He also argued he was injured while ministering to his personal comfort, yet he had not deviated from the course and scope of his employment.

But the appeals court disagreed. It found that at the time of the accident, the claimant was on a purely personal mission that did not have a relationship to his work.

Because of that, the accident and injuries did not arise out of his work so the appeals court reversed the judge's finding.

Comp Time thinks the court got that one right and the court decision is available here.