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Stupid Facts Make For Interesting Law – No Fault Auto Insurance is a Contract of Personal Indemnity

By Barry Zalma, Attorney and Consultant Insurance policies do not insure property. Insurance policies do not insure cars. Insurance policies, much to the surprise of the uninitiated, insure people against certain risks of loss specified in a policy. Therefore, if a person has an automobile insurance...

Illinois: “Traveling Employee” Rule Relates to Comp Cases Only; May Not Be Extended to Tort Law

An Illinois appellate court recently held that workers’ compensation law’s “traveling employee” doctrine may not be extended into the tort law arena so as to support a claim that an employer was liable, upon respondeat superior grounds, for the alleged negligence of a “traveling...

Wyoming: Jury Determination That Driver Was Within Course of Employment Not Binding on Administrative Hearings Office

Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law and observing that the test of liability in the workers' compensation setting is not the relation of an individual's fault or negligence to an event, as it is within the tort arena, but rather the relationship of an event to the employment...

New York: Injured Employee’s Action to Recover Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Benefits Against Employer’s Liability Carrier Barred

Where an employee sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident while in the course of her employment, but could not proceed in tort against the responsible driver, a co-employee, because of the exclusive remedy provisions of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law, she likewise could not recover...

Texas: Court Agrees That Worker Was Fired For Refusing Drug Test, Not Contemplating Workers’ Comp Claim

A Texas appellate court affirmed summary judgment in favor of a former employer in a retaliatory discharge case filed against it by a worker who was terminated when he refused to take a drug test following a collision between the worker’s truck and another driven by a co-worker. The worker contended...

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

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...

California: Appeals Court Reverses W.C.A.B. Application of Going and Coming Rule

The 2nd District Court of Appeal has reversed a W.C.A.B. decision, which had in turn reversed a WCJ decision in a going and coming rule case. In Shultz v W.C.A.B. (Joint Test Tactics And Training (JT3)) , the court ultimately determined that the employee was operating his motor vehicle within the course...

California: Entire Air Force Base is Employer’s “Premises” for Purposes of Going and Coming Rule

A California appellate court held that in as much as a civilian employee worked at a U.S. Air Force base and often traveled to multiple locations throughout the base to perform his work for the employer, the entire base constituted the employer’s “premises” for purposes of California’s...

Virginia: Injuries Sustained When Run-away Car Drove Through Employer’s Exterior Wall Are Compensable

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...

South Carolina: Control Not Key to Determining Statutory Employee Status

The Supreme Court of South Carolina held that an employee of an uninsured cargo delivery business (West Expedited) was the statutory employee of another delivery business (Seko Charlotte), with whom West Expedited had contracted to deliver a load of parts to Wisconsin in spite of Seko Charlotte’s...

Illinois: Evidence of Control Supports Employment Relationship for Long-Haul Truck Driver

A divided Illinois appellate court affirmed a decision awarding workers’ compensation benefits to a long-haul truck driver on the basis that he was an employee and not an independent contractor in spite of the fact that the driver owned and supplied a relatively expensive tractor and trailer, was...

Texas: Remote Worker’s Injury Traveling From Motel to Work Site Not Barred by Going and Coming Rule

A divided Supreme Court of Texas affirmed a determination that an employee was acting in the course and scope of his employment when he died in an automobile accident while traveling to a job site located some 40 miles from a motel where he as staying. Noting that the going and coming rule applied in...

Federal: Employee’s Death in Taxi Accident While He Shopped for Groceries Found Compensable Under Defense Base Act

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an award of death benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA) to the widow of an employee who died in an auto accident in Tbilisi, Georgia, while traveling by taxi to shop for groceries. The employee worked for a subcontractor working for the U.S. Department of...

Texas: Truck Driver’s Estate Fails to Rebut Marijuana Intoxication Presumption

A Texas appellate court affirmed a trial court’s decision that a truck driver’s death in a vehicular accident did not arise out of and in the course of the employment where an autopsy report revealed the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the driver’s blood and...

Maryland: State Trooper’s Injuries in Personal Vehicle Not Barred by Going and Coming Rule

Applying Maryland’s “free transportation” exception to the normal going and coming rule, a state appellate court affirmed an award of workers’ compensation benefits to a state trooper who sustained injuries in a vehicular accident while commuting to work in his private vehicle...

Texas: Traveling Employee’s Fatal Car Accident Was Not Within Course and Scope of Employment

An employee who traveled from his home base in North Carolina to Dallas, Texas on a business trip did not sustain injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment when he was involved in an automobile accident as he made his way to meet his son, a Dallas resident, for dinner at a restaurant...

South Carolina: Recreation Superintendent’s Accident Retrieving Keys Did Not Arise Out of and In the Course of Employment

A South Carolina appellate court affirmed a decision by the state’s Appellate Panel that a former Superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Spartanburg was not in the course and scope of his employment when he was killed in a motorcycle accident. Acknowledging that the...

Louisiana: Bonuses Paid at Start and Finish of Out-of-State Work Did Not Turn Travel Into Employment Activity

A Louisiana appellate court affirmed summary judgment in favor of a defendant employer whose employee rear-ended a van, killing the van’s driver and causing catastrophic injuries to the plaintiff who was a passenger in the van. At the time of the accident, the employee was driving from a job site...

Wisconsin: Injuries Sustained in Car Crash After Drinking Spree Were Within Scope of Employment

Injuries sustained by a sales manager for a beverage distributor in an auto accident as he and a co-employee returned home at 1:00 a.m., after delivering beer more than six hours earlier to one of their employer’s restaurant customers, and also after consuming more than 10 drinks in other locations...