Case name: Pope v. Gateway to the West Harley Davidson, No. ED98108 (Mo. Ct. App. 10/23/12).
Ruling: The Missouri Court of Appeals held that a technician for a motorcycle dealer was entitled to benefits for the ankle injury he sustained in a fall.
means: In Missouri, an injury does not arise out of and in the course of employment if it comes from a hazard or risk to which the worker would have been equally exposed outside of work.
Summary: An entry-level technician for a motorcycle dealer was asked to drive motorcycles into the showroom for overnight storage. After moving the last motorcycle, he went to check with his supervisor to ensure everything was completed satisfactorily before he clocked out. The technician was walking down the stairs wearing his work boots and carrying his motorcycle helmet when he lost his footing and fell. He underwent surgery for a right ankle fracture and dislocation. He was unable to work for nine weeks. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Missouri Court of Appeals held that he was entitled to benefits.
The court found that the technician's injury arose out of and in the course of employment. The court said that he was injured "because he was at work," not simply while he was at work. He was injured because he was performing work activities. He was required to wear a motorcycle helmet while moving the motorcycles and had to descend the stairs to report back to his supervisor. The location of the stairs and the fact that he had to carry his helmet while walking down the stairs increased his risk of falling.
The dealer argued that the technician wore the same boots and helmet while operating a motorcycle outside of his employment. The court said the evidence did not show that he was equally exposed to the risk of walking down stairs while carrying a helmet outside of work. The court also pointed out that there was no evidence that the technician's boots contributed to or caused his fall.
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January 3, 2013
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