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Dumb behavior causes tragic claim


In the workers compensation business you see all types of behavior and it's not always pretty.

Sometimes it's sad or even too stupid for words, but here are a few words about one of those cases.

The case of John Doe vs. Buccini Pollin Group Inc. ruled on recently by a Maryland appeals court began with a banquet hall worker's argument with a co-worker over a supply cart.

While the two struggled over the cart, the first worker –the appellant in this case- touched his co-worker's hand. She became enraged and cursed.

She then called a friend and told him about the incident and said “you should come get your thing and take care of him,” according to court records.

After work, the friend followed the appellant, there was a high speed chase, and 13 miles from the workplace the friend shot the appellant, rendering him a paraplegic.

A Workers' Compensation Commission awarded the victim temporary total disability benefits and medical care, but a trial court reversed.

The appeals court agreed with the trial court, finding that the appellant's injury did not arise out of his employment and it did not occur in the course of his work.

“The time place and circumstances of the injury in relation to his work indicate that the tragic wounds he suffered were not within the range of dangers associated with his employment, especially because appellant's claim is subject to the ‘going and coming rule,” the court said.

The fact that he had the misfortune to work with a co-worker who would have him shot does not constitute a workplace hazard that would mitigate the coming and going rule, the court said.

The co-worker and her friend received lengthy prison terms.

But this story illustrates the importance of employers making good hiring decisions to avoid something as dumb as having an employee shot over the use of a supply cart.