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Mississippi: Driver’s Failure to Wear Seatbelt and to Turn on Headlights Did Not Equate to Willful Intent to Injure Himself

October 10, 2014 (2 min read)

In a split decision, a Mississippi appellate court has affirmed a finding by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that an employee’s claim was not barred by the going and coming rule since the accident fell within the employer-sponsored-travel exception and that the employer had also failed to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the accident resulted from the employee’s willful intent to injure himself. The employer argued that in order to take advantage of the employer-sponsored-travel exception, the employee must prove that the employer both provided the employee’s means of transportation and compensated the employee an additional amount of money as reimbursement for travel time. The court disagreed, finding the exception to the “going and coming” rule allowed an employer to assume responsibility for the employee’s travel either by paying the transportation costs or by providing a “company vehicle.” The employer introduced testimony from a crash reconstructionist that the employee drove to work with little sleep, had taken pain medication, and failed to wear a seatbelt or turn on his headlights and that he was speeding at the time of the accident. According to the employer, the combination of these acts equated to a willful intent to injure himself. The majority disagreed, finding that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s conclusion that the employee’s actions did not constitute a willful intent to injure himself.

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

See Linde Gas v. Edmonds, 2014 Miss. App. LEXIS 547 (Sept. 30, 2014) [2014 Miss. App. LEXIS 547 (Sept. 30, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 15.01 [15.01]

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

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