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Exclusive remedy bars lawsuit for worker hit by coworker’s car

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An appeals court in Georgia ruled that a worker can’t sue a coworker who struck him with a car in the employer’s parking lot, as the driver was on his way to work and thus workers compensation is the exclusive remedy.

Thomas Odom had finished his shift at 7 a.m. and was putting his bag in the back of his truck when he was struck and injured by a car driven by Richard Franklin, who was running 10 minutes late for his shift, according to Tuesday’s ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals in Odom v. Franklin.

Mr. Odom filed a workers compensation claim with his employer and later filed a negligence lawsuit against Mr. Franklin, who moved for summary judgment arguing that the complaint was barred by the exclusive remedy provision in state workers comp law. The trial court granted the motion.

The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed, writing that the driver was in the course of his employment when he hit Mr. Odom in the parking lot, and that state law holds “that an employee’s period of employment includes a reasonable time for ingress to and egress from the workplace, while on the employer’s premises, and that an employer-owned parking lot is considered part of the employer’s premises.”