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Injuries sustained by two office workers when a vehicle driven by the owner of their employer abruptly crashed through the exterior wall of the work premises are compensable, held a Virginia court. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer had argued that nothing about the employment created a risk that was peculiar to the employment and that the injuries could not, therefore, be traced to a workplace risk. According to the insurer, the workers faced no greater risk than the public. The appellate court, affirming the Commission, disagreed. The court indicated the location, layout of, and traffic on employer’s property contributed to the risk that the workers faced when working at their desk station up against the brick façade of the office building, as required by the employer. When the employer purchased the building, it converted truck bays into office space. The location of the workers’ desk right up against the front of a structure directly next to an open and unrestricted parking area exposed them to a particular danger from which they were injured, notwithstanding the exposure of the public generally to like risks, indicated the court. Although the court indicated a showing of foreseeability was not required to prove the workers’ case, it observed that on three other occasions, vehicles had struck the outside wall of the building, although without traveling well into the office area as was the situation in the instant case.
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.
LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.
See Charter Oak Fire Ins. Co. v. Morgan, 2015 Va. App. LEXIS 55 (Feb. 24, 2015) [2015 Va. App. LEXIS 55 (Feb. 24, 2015)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, §§ 3.03, 3.04 [3.03, 3.04]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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