Case name: Abrams v. Earl Colvard, Inc. d/b/a Boulevard Tire Center, 18 FLWCLB 211 (Fla. JCC, Miami 2011).
Ruling: A Florida Judge of Compensation Claims held that a repairman's children were entitled to death benefits for his fatal vehicular accident.
What it means: In Florida, a worker's decision to pull his vehicle over on a narrow shoulder of a road during a business-related road trip to urinate falls within the personal comfort doctrine. Therefore, any injuries sustained while performing such activity falls within the course of his employment.
Summary: A roadside repair serviceman traveled from location to location to repair tires and service vehicles roadside. He was on his lunch break at home when his supervisor called and instructed him to deliver tires to two customers and return the old tires to the employer's location. The serviceman performed his duties and was returning to the employer's location in the late evening when he stopped his vehicle on a narrow shoulder of the road. A coworker passenger testified that he exited the vehicle to urinate when another vehicle hit him. He died before the ambulance arrived. The JCC found in favor of the serviceman and awarded death benefits to his children.
The JCC noted that although there was conflicting evidence regarding the serviceman's activity at the precise time of his death, the evidence supported a contention that he pulled over to urinate. The JCC concluded that he did not abandon his job and that his actions fell within the personal comfort doctrine. Stopping for a break to urinate along the side of the road after a long workday was reasonable. There was no departure from his employment.
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February 27, 2012
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