After-hours stabbing, throat slitting not covered for home care worker
Case name: O'Rourke v. Gartland, 27 PAWCLR 166 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2012).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's grant of the worker's claim, review and medical review petitions.
What it means:
In Pennsylvania, under certain circumstances, a worker cannot recover benefits if an injury occurs on the employer's premises, but her presence on the premises was not required by the nature of her employment.
Summary: Through a program with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, a worker became an employee of her son and was paid to take care of him in her home. The worker's care did not include 24-hour or nighttime care. The son attacked her while she was asleep in her bed. The worker alleged that she sustained a wound to her throat from being cut with a butcher knife, three stab wounds, her left arm not functioning because of stab wound, soft tissue injuries, and psychological injuries. She also alleged that she needed medical treatment and was unable to work because she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The WCJ concluded that although the worker's injuries did not arise while she was engaged in the furtherance of her employment, since she was required to be on the premises at the time she sustained her injuries, her injuries were compensable. The board reversed, finding that the worker was not injured while in the course and scope of her employment.
Having finished her work, she was no longer required by the nature of her employment to be present in the employer's residence except that it was actually her residence too. Thus, at the time of the attack, she lost her "employee" status and became a resident of her own home. In her recreational capacity, she ceased to be within the course and scope of her employment for purposes of workers' compensation.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
December 10, 2012
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