Case name: Cossin v. Ohio State Home Services, Inc. et al., No. 12AP-132 (Ohio Ct. App. 12/04/12).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a sales consultant's injuries in a motor vehicle accident were sustained in the course of and arising out of his employment.
What it means: In Ohio, traveling employees who lack a fixed work site are continuously in the course of employment while driving.
Summary: A sales consultant for a basement waterproofing company was not required to regularly appear at the company's workplace. He called each morning to find out his schedule of conducting evaluations and making presentations to homeowners. After making a visit to a home, the consultant began driving toward his home and the company's office. The weather and road conditions deteriorated due to wintry conditions. As he exited a highway, he decided to go home without stopping at the office. He lost control of his truck and hit a guardrail. He sought workers' compensation benefits, claiming that he hit his head in the accident. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that his injuries were sustained in the course of and arising out of employment.
The court explained that the coming and going rule did not apply. The accident occurred while he was traveling from the home of a potential customer. He was engaged in the activities his supervisor described as constituting 90 percent of his work time. He did not have a "fixed situs" of employment, since he visited multiple homes per day, and there was no expectation that he would return. The court found that the sales consultant was in the course of employment.
The court also found that his accident arose out of his employment. There was a clear causal connection between a substantial obligation of his employment and his injuries. He was not on a personal errand but was engaged in an activity that was "logically related" to the company's business. The court did not find it relevant that the accident occurred after the sales consultant decided to drive home rather than to the company's office.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 25, 2013
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