Workers' Compensation

Nebraska: No Death Benefits For Deputy Killed in Vehicular Accident While Discussing Police Business

A Nebraska appellate court affirmed the denial of workers’ compensation death benefits to the family of a county deputy who sustained fatal injuries in a car crash that occurred as the deputy drove his private vehicle home some five minutes after he had clocked out, but while the deputy communicated required shift-change information via cell phone to another deputy who was coming on duty. The court held that the normal going and coming rule applied, that the deputy had a fixed time and place of employment—he was required to drive to and from the courthouse each day to retrieve, and later turn in, his county-owned patrol car. The court stressed that while the shift-change communication was a part of the job, the county did not mandate that it be done via cell phone and, in fact, the county had a strong policy against use of cell phones while operating vehicles.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Coughlin v County of Colfax, 27 Neb. App. 41, 2019 Neb. App. LEXIS 97 (Apr. 2, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 13.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

 For a more detailed discussion of the case, see