Aide's injuries on way to client's house don't meet exceptions
Case name: Mackey v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Maxim Healthcare Services), No. 1903 C.D. 2009 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 02/17/10).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the denial of benefits to a home health aide.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, an injured employee may be eligible for benefits if she is injured travelling to or from work if: 1) the employment agreement between the employee and the employer included transportation to and from work; 2) the employee has no fixed place of work; 3) the employee is injured while on a special assignment for the employer; and 4) special circumstances indicate that the employee was furthering the business of the employer.
Summary: A home health aide who had only one patient was driving to her work assignment when her car slid off an icy road. She argued she was a temporary employee and had no fixed place of business, and therefore, the coming and going rule did not bar her claim. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejected her argument, reasoning that the employer never assigned the aide to a different patient and there was no indication that the aide's assignment would terminate any time in the future.
The court also rejected the aide's argument that when she attempted to drive to the patient's house under inclement conditions, she was furthering the employer's interests. The aide contended that on a wholesale basis, any person who works as a home health care aide furthers the business of her employer more than other types of employees who travel to and from work under similar circumstances. Rejecting the argument, the Commonwealth Court found that the aide was not acting in the course or scope of her employment when she was injured.
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April 15, 2010
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