Workers Comp Case 1
Outagamie v. Labor and Industry Review Commission
What happened: In this slip, trips, and falls case, a County maintenance employee was on call for emergencies. On a day when the roads were icy, the County called him, while he was at home, to do a repair. After completing the job, he drove home and parked in his garage. While walking from his garage to his house, he slipped on ice on his driveway, fell and hurt himself. He filed a Workers Comp claim.
Employer position: The worker is not covered because he was no longer on the job when he fell on his own driveway. Employees traveling to and from their workplace are usually not considered to be on the job. An exception to that law says that employees on "special errands" receive "portal-to-portal" coverage from the time they leave their homes until the time they return. However, in this case, that coverage ended when the worker reached his own garage.
Results: The employer lost. The court said that the employer called the worker while he was inside his house, so the worker was still on his "special errand" until he returned to the inside of his house.
Cite: County of Outagamie v. Labor and Industry Review Commission, No. 2013AP217 (Wis. Ct. App. 07/30/13)
Workers Comp Case 2
Gay v. Georgia-Pacific
What Happened: A night-shift control room operator's job involved, in part, training other workers. One night, the man the operator was training made pointed racial comments directed at the operator. The comments alluded to several tragedies in the operator's life -- his recent traumatic discovery of his wife's dead body and the kidnapping and murder of his elderly parents. The operator had a severe physical and psychological reaction to the trainee's remarks. The operator filed for disability benefits through company-funded insurance policy, but he did not file for Workers' Compensation benefits until a little more than a year after the incident.
Company's Position: Louisiana law requires that personal injury claims must be filed within one year of the time a person becomes disabled. The operator waited too long to file for Workers' Compensation benefits and was no longer eligible.
Result: The court agreed with the company and found that the operator's disability began on the day of the incident at work because he did not return to work after the incident. Therefore, he missed the deadline to file for Workers' Comp benefits.
Cite: Gay v Georgia-Pacific, Case No. 2012 CA 1892 (LA Ct. App., 1st Circ., Oct. 10, 2013)
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