Gaskins v. Jeff Minner Trucking, No. CA09-1198 (Ark. Ct. App. 06/02/10).
Ruling: The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled that a truck driver's injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment. The driver was injured while putting out a fire on his truck.
What it means: Arkansas courts consider what employees were doing at the time of their injury. Workers' compensation cases recognize "the protection of an employer's property as a legitimate duty of an employee."
Summary: The employee worked as a truck driver. After receiving an assignment, the driver mentioned that he wanted to visit his ill grandmother along the way, and the employer gave permission. The driver exited onto a highway not listed on his permit but which was permissible for the load he was hauling. Motorists alerted him to a fire at the back of the truck. He stopped the truck and tried to extinguish the fire. A tire exploded and seriously injured him. The Arkansas Court of Appeals decided the driver's injuries were compensable.
The employer argued that the driver deviated from his route, so he was not within the course and scope of his employment when he was injured. The court rejected the argument and stated that the relevant issue was not whether the driver deviated from his route but what he was doing at the time of his injury. Since the driver was injured while attempting to put out the fire on the employer's truck, the court decided that this act of protecting the employer's property "constituted performance of employment services."
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August 23, 2010
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