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2. Courts wrestled with comp eligibility for traveling workers

Posted On: Dec. 28, 2022 6:49 AM CST


Legal disputes over whether workers injured while traveling were due workers compensation benefits led to several significant rulings in the past year.

In May, a Florida appeals court heard the case of a worker who was injured in an accident with a drunk driver while driving to work. The appeals court ruled that while the injured driver was a “field employee” his job did not start until he arrived at the first job of the day.

In overturning a lower court in DSK Group Inc. and Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Hernandez, the appeals court ruled that the worker was “a typical commuting employee” and therefore was ineligible for comp.

The story about the ruling was the second-most-read workers compensation-related story on Business Insurance’s website in 2022.

Other rulings on traveling employees this year included an Ohio appellate court ruling that a traveling worker did not suffer a compensable injury when he fell in a restaurant parking lot while having lunch with a colleague.

A tree company employee in New Hampshire, though, did win workers comp benefits after he was severely injured in an accident after being released early from his shift because of an approaching storm.

The state high court ruled that the “special errand” exception to the “coming and going” rule applied.

And in Kentucky, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of a worker who was injured in an accident that occurred as he was traveling back to his employer’s property from a job site.

In its ruling, the Kentucky Supreme Court noted two exceptions from the general rule that commuting accidents are not covered under workers comp applied in the case.

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