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Worker injured while helping car accident victim should have received comp: Court

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A worker who ended up requiring a double leg amputation after being struck by a vehicle while trying to tend to another car accident victim during an on-the-clock trip should have been entitled to workers compensation benefits, a West Virginia appellate court ruled Wednesday.

The state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals reversed a review board’s determination that Tyler Carroll was not eligible for workers comp following a May 2021 vehicle accident.

Mr. Carroll, at the time a third-year union apprentice with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union #625, had been assigned to work on a project at the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh alongside another employee.

While en route to Charleston, West Virginia, from Pittsburgh, Mr. Carroll and the other worker witnessed a vehicle accident and attempted to help the victims. Mr. Carroll was later struck by another vehicle at the scene.

A claim administrator subsequently denied Mr. Carroll’s application for comp benefits because the injuries were not sustained in the course and scope of his employment since they occurred during a deviation from employment. This determination was later reversed by a comp judge, but a review board later reinstated the non-compensability determination.

The appeals court, in finding the claim compensable, said Mr. Carroll’s co-worker’s actions constituted “implicit authorization for Mr. Carroll’s actions while working.”

“Implicit authorization,” the court wrote, can bring an employee’s acts within the scope of employment and make a claim compensable.