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Court clarifies traveling employee exception to going and coming rule


A person must be in a “compensation status of some sort” to be considered a traveling employee eligible for workers compensation following an accident, a Florida appellate court ruled Wednesday.

Jorge Z. Hernandez was an electrician for DSK Group Inc., an employee-leasing company that provided him to residential remodeling company KBF Renovations. As part of his job, Hernandez drove from his home to the first remodeling job of the day, according to DSK Group Inc. and Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Hernandez, filed in the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee on Wednesday.

One morning, while Mr. Hernandez was driving to work, he was injured in an accident with a drunk driver. The judge of compensation claims determined that Mr. Hernandez did not meet the criteria to be classified as a “traveling employee,” who is exempt from the going and coming rule, yet concluded the claim was not precluded because Mr. Hernandez was a field employee who transported materials and tools in his car for which he received a $165 gas allowance.

The appeals court reversed, saying there was no question that Mr. Hernandez did not start work until he arrives at the first job of the day and clocked in. The driving that he did to get to the first job site, and the driving he did to get home from the last job site, was going to or coming from work, according to the court.

“Hernandez, in fact, was a typical commuting employee, whose compensated hours started only upon his arrival at work and ended upon his departure for home at the end of the day,” the court said. “He truly was ‘an ordinary workman going to work’ when he was injured in the car crash.”

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.




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