Law School Case Brief
Zhu v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. - 12 Cal. App. 5th 1031, 219 Cal. Rptr. 3d 630 (2017)
The cases have suggested a sensible line under workers' compensation between the extremes of absolute coverage and absolute rejection for all transit-suffered injuries. In substance the courts have held non-compensable the injury that occurs during a local commute enroute to a fixed place of business at fixed hours in the absence of special or extraordinary circumstances. The decisions have thereby excluded the ordinary, local commute that marks the daily transit of the mass of workers to and from their jobs; the employment, there, plays no special role in the requisites of portage except the normal need of the presence of the person for the performance of the work. Thus, if the employee is commuting between his or her home and place of work at the time of day that is usual for the commute, the going and coming rule applies. The reason for this is that on such a commute the employment plays no special role in the requisites of portage except the normal need of the presence of the person for the performance of the work. That is, no special benefit is conferred upon the employer or the employment relationship by the commute.
The claimant was employed by the State Department of Social Services as an in-home caretaker (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 12300, subd. (a)) and was injured in an accident while riding a bicycle between two homes where the claimant provided services.The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board rescinded a decision of a workers' compensation judge that had found an injury compensable under Cal. Lab. Code, § 3600.
Whether the "going and coming" rule applied to deny a claimant workers' compensation?
The Court of Appeal annulled the board's decision and remanded, concluding that the claimant was within the scope of employment. The going and coming rule did not apply because the accident did not occur during a commute between the claimant's home and the workplace at a fixed time; moreover, the claimant's use of the bicycle bestowed a direct benefit on the department, which knew that the claimant had to transit between homes to service more than one home in a day and thus made an implied request for the claimant to perform such transit as a part of the employment relationship.
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