Fatal car accident after leaving work site falls outside scope of employment
Case name: Davis v. Labor Ready, 110 NYWCLR 20 (N.Y. App. Div. 2010).
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division upheld the Workers' Compensation Board's decision denying death benefits to the claimant. The worker's death in an automobile accident did not arise out of and in the course of her employment.
What it means: An employer's act of occasionally assisting in arranging who drives to a work site is insufficient to place an employee's travel to and from work within the course of employment, especially where the vehicle used is not owned by the employer and it did not pay the driver to transport the employees to the work site.
The decedent was driven, along with two other employees, to a work assignment by a Labor Ready employee who was not working that day but had agreed to drive the employees to the site. The decedent was killed in an automobile accident on the way home from the site. The claimant argued that because the employer assumed responsibility for transporting its employees to and from their temporary job assignments, the accident occurred within the scope of employment. In rejecting this argument, the Appellate Division noted that although the employer occasionally assisted in making driving arrangements, it did not own the vehicles that were used for transporting employees, there was no contract to provide transportation, and it did not pay drivers to transport employees to work sites. Further, the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident was in the process of collecting his paycheck and was not working when he volunteered to transport the workers. The employees, not the employer, paid him for each way transportation was provided. Finally, the decedent was paid an hourly wage which, as a general rule, did not include payment for time traveling to and from an assignment.
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June 3, 2010
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