Coordinator can't secure comp for fall in parking lot while on personal errand
Case name: Noble v. Legacy Health Systems, No. A145784 (Or. Ct. App. 06/27/12).
Ruling: The Oregon Court of Appeals held that a hospital coordinator was not entitled to benefits because her fall in the hospital parking lot did not arise out of her employment.
What it means:
In Oregon, a worker's injury arises out of her employment if it is the product of a risk connected with the nature of the work or a risk to which the work environment exposed the worker.
Summary: A patient care coordinator for a hospital decided to walk from the hospital to a nearby credit union to deposit a personal check during her paid 15-minute break. She started to cut through a parking lot that was owned and controlled by the hospital. The coordinator did not park her car in the lot, which was used for a facility separate from the hospital that served families of cancer patients. She fell on a slick surface in the lot and fractured her ankle. The coordinator sought workers' compensation benefits. The Oregon Court of Appeals held that she was not entitled to benefits.
The coordinator argued that the risk of the injury was distinctly associated with her employment while the hospital asserted that she was on a personal errand. The court concluded that the coordinator's injury did not arise out of her employment. The court explained that nothing in the nature of the coordinator's work, which confined her to the hospital, bore any causal connection to suffering an ankle injury while walking across a slippery parking lot to deposit a personal check.
The court also said that her work environment did not expose her to a risk of the injury that she suffered. The hospital owned and controlled the parking lot, but the lot had no "environmental" connection to her work. The coordinator did not park her car in the lot, and evidence did not suggest that the lot was used by hospital employees.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 13, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications