Horse groom entitled to benefits for car accident during travel back to farm
Gaines Gentry Thoroughbreds/Fayette Farms v. Mandujano, No. 2010-CA-000663-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 04/29/11).
Ruling: The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a groom for a horse farm was injured in the course and scope of his employment and was entitled to benefits.
What it means: In Kentucky, a traveling employee's injuries are compensable if the employer sustained an economic benefit by the trip and if the employer would have sent another worker if the injured employee did not go.
Summary: A groom for a horse farm also worked showing horses for a consignment seller. The seller, working as the farm's sales agent, transported five of the farm's horses to a sale in another state. The groom traveled in the van with the horses. The farm paid him for the trip, but he had to make his own arrangements to find a ride home. The groom showed the farm's horses and also others. When the sale was over, he got a ride home with a friend. While traveling home, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained skull fractures and back injuries. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the groom was injured during the course and scope of his employment and was entitled to benefits.
The farm argued that the groom was injured during a "personal endeavor" when he traveled to the sale because he wanted to work there to make more money than he normally earned at the farm. The court disagreed, stating that the trip was a business trip because if the groom had not gone to the sale, the farm would have sent another employee in the van with the horses. The groom's presence at the sale conveyed an "obvious economic benefit" to the farm.
The farm also asserted that any causal link between the groom's employment and his injuries was severed when he began showing other horses. The court explained that the groom was injured while he was traveling back to the farm to resume his work. Since both parties planned for the groom to return to the farm after the sale, his travel was linked to his employment.
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June 27, 2011
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