Oklahoma: Slip and Fall Outside Premises Door Still Compensable in Spite of Personal Errand

Oklahoma: Slip and Fall Outside Premises Door Still Compensable in Spite of Personal Errand

An employee's purpose in leaving work is relevant in deciding whether going and coming injuries arise out of employment; it is not, however, dispositive.  The Supreme Court of Oklahoma accordingly reversed a decision of the state’s Court of Civil Appeals that had vacated an award of benefits to an employee who sustained injuries when a rug outside the school door slipped out from under her, causing her to fall. At the time of this accident, the employee was leaving work early due to a family medical emergency. The Court of Civil Appeals held the employee was involved in a personal mission at the time of the injury and that the claim was barred by the going and coming rule.  The high court disagreed.  Applying the rule laid down in Corbett v. Express Personnel, 1997 OK 40, 8, 936 P.2d 932, 934, the court held that injuries sustained by an employee while going to or from work may be compensable in certain circumstances if (a) the claimant's employment is shown to have a connection to the causative risk encountered, or (b) the precipitating risk of harm was created (or maintained) by the employer."  The second factor was active here, indicated the court. It was undisputed that "the precipitating risk of harm" was a rug the employer placed outside the door that employees, such as the injured claimant, used to exit the school building.

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 Graham Public Schools v. Priddy, 2014 OK 30, 2014 Okla. LEXIS 39 (Apr. 22, 2014) [2014 Okla. LEXIS 39 (Apr. 22, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 13.01 [13.01]

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

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