Case name: McDaniel v. Helmerich and Payne International Drilling Co., No. 2081120 (Ala. Civ. App. 07/30/10).
Ruling: The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed summary judgment to the employer and stated that substantial evidence supported "at least one of the theories advanced by the employee" that he was within the course of his employment when he was injured.
What it means: In Alabama, accidents that occur while a worker is traveling on a public road while going to or coming from work generally fall outside the course of employment. However, if an injury results from an accident during the workday as part of a journey required by the employer, the accident is considered to have arisen out of and in the course of employment unless the worker deviated from his work activity on a personal mission.
Summary: A worker who resided in Louisiana traveled to Alabama to assist in working on an oil rig. He slept in a crew trailer owned and maintained by his employer. The employer required that workers use the crew trailers when working on-site. A supervisor woke the worker and ordered him to attend a mandatory safety meeting. Employees were paid for their attendance at safety meetings, which usually lasted 15 to 20 minutes at the start of each workday. After the meeting, the worker was injured in a motor vehicle accident while he was traveling to the oil rig before the workday had begun. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed summary judgment to the employer and remanded the case for further proceedings.
The court stated that substantial evidence supported at least one of the worker's arguments that he was not injured while going to work but that he was already within the course of employment when the accident occurred. That created a genuine issue of material fact.
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November 4, 2010
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