Five Recent Workers’ Comp Cases You Should Know About (9/30/2011) – Security Guard’s Injuries After He Left Assigned Area Were Not In Course of Employment

Five Recent Workers’ Comp Cases You Should Know About (9/30/2011) – Security Guard’s Injuries After He Left Assigned Area Were Not In Course of Employment

Larson's Spotlight on Course of Employment, Employer's Parking Lot, Earnings, Retaliatory Discharge, and Untimely Filing of Claim. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

PA: Security Guard's Injuries While Checking on Nearby Noises Were Not Compensable; Leaving the Assigned Area Took Guard Out of the Course of Employment

A security worker, who was assigned, during a 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift, to watch an open tent with a car on display, and who decided, near the end of that work shift, to leave the tent and check the surrounding areas where he previously had seen lights and heard noises, was held not to be entitled to workers' compensation benefits for injuries sustained during his absence from the tent, held a Pennsylvania appellate court, affirming a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.  Observing that the WCJ found that the worker's job was to sit in the tent and watch the car and that he was issued a radio and instructed to use the radio if he needed a break or if there was some type of problem, the appellate court could not conclude that the WCJ erred in denying recovery.  His job was to sit and watch, not explore the surrounding area. 

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 470. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 33.01.

FL: Injuries Sustained While Retrieving Property From Car Being Repossessed From Company Parking Lot Were Not Compensable

A Florida appellate court recently reversed a decision of a Judge of Compensation Claims that had awarded workers' compensation benefits to worker who sustained injuries when he was dragged across the employer's parking lot and run over as he hung from a window of his car that was being repossessed by his lender.  Citing Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, the appellate court held that in as much as the worker was on a purely personal mission having no relationship to work at the time of the accident, the accident and injuries did not arise out of his employment.  The court found unpersuasive the worker's argument that since he was allowed several paid breaks from his work duties, the injuries should have been compensable under the personal comfort doctrine. 

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Fla. App. LEXIS 15034. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, §§ 4.02, 21.01.

LA: Reduction in Overall Earnings Does Not Necessarily Translate into Workers' Comp Benefits If Lower Income is Due to Economic Conditions and Not the Injury

A Louisiana appellate court recently held that a General Motors employee was not entitled to supplemental earnings benefits in spite of the fact that he had sustained a compensable injury and had been rated as permanently partially disabled since, following recovery, he had returned to work for the auto company, enjoyed plenty of overtime for several years and received a raise.  Because of the 2008-2009 economic slowdown, the takeover of GM by the federal government, and GM's subsequent bankruptcy, the employee worked fewer hours, but still enjoyed the high hourly wage basis to which he had become accustomed.  The court ruled that his loss of earnings was not due to his injury, but to economic conditions.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 La. App. LEXIS 1068. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, §§ 81.01, 84.01.

OH: Retaliatory Discharge Claim Unsuccessful; Judge's Alleged Statement That Retaliation Claim Could Not Be Maintained If Worker's Injury Was Minor Was Not Established  

An Ohio appellate court recently affirmed a trial court's entry of a judgment in favor of an employer and against a former employee, who claimed he was fired in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. The employer argued that the employee had been dismissed as part of a workforce reduction and the trial court weighed the evidence and agreed. The employee argued that the trial court, by its comments from the bench, indicated he had to overcome an inference that a minor workers' compensation claim would not be the basis of employer retaliation, and the trial court's inference created an equal protection issue when a trivial workers' compensation claim was treated differently than a more substantial claim.  The appellate court held the employee had failed to meet his burden of showing retaliation and, considering the limited record before it, the court indicated that the employee had unduly accentuated the comments from the trial court.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 4036. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 104.07.

NC: Claim Denied As Untimely Filed; No Misrepresentation As to Worker's Rights Was Made by Employer

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina recently affirmed a decision denying, as untimely filed, a claim by a worker who sustained serious injuries while chopping wood for the employer.  The worker contended that the employer should be equitably estopped from denying the claim, but the appellate court disagreed. The court indicated the employer did nothing to induce the worker to believe anything about the availability of workers' compensation coverage nor did the employer provide the worker with any advice as to how long he had to file a workers' compensation claim.  On cross-examination, the worker, who had been continuously represented by counsel since shortly after the accident, admitted that the employer did not discourage him from filing a workers' compensation claim. The two-year statute of limitations applied to bar the claim.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 N.C. App. LEXIS 2070. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 126.12.

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

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