Employee can't prove driving accident falls into dual purpose exception
American Protection Ins. Co. v. Leordeanu, No. 03-06-00529-CV (Tex. Ct. App. 02/13/09).
Ruling: The Texas Court of Appeals held that an employee who was injured in a car accident was not in the course of her employment pursuant to the dual purpose rule. Thus, her workers' compensation claim was not compensable.
What it means: Under Texas law, if an employee is injured in a car accident while on a personal errand, and her trip would have taken place even if no business was being done for her employer, her injury will not be covered by the dual purpose rule.
Summary: A pharmaceutical representative was injured in a car accident while traveling home after a dinner meeting with clients. She was going to stop by a company-maintained storage unit on her way home and then continue working from her home office. The carrier argued the representative was not in the course and scope of her employment when she was injured because she was traveling home. The representative argued the dual purpose exception to the coming and going rule applied because she was in furtherance of both personal and business-related purposes at the time of the accident. The Court of Appeals rejected her argument. It held that the rule only applies when two conditions are met: 1) the representative would have made the trip for the employer even if there been no personal affairs of the employee to be furthered; and 2) the travel would not have been made if the business purpose was removed from the equation.
The court determined her home was her final destination whether or not she stopped at the storage unit. Therefore, the court ruled she did not meet the second prong of the dual purpose doctrine because the evidence did not show she would not have stopped at the storage unit had she not been on her way home. Therefore, the representative was not traveling in the scope and course of her employment at the time of her injury.
March 30, 2009
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