Comp denied for manager's accident while returning from lunch break
Case name: Luciano v. NCC Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 98789 (Ohio Ct. App. 02/14/13).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a manager was not entitled to benefits for the neck injury he sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
What it means: In Ohio, a worker's injury is generally not compensable if it occurs while traveling to or from lunch away from the employer's premises.
A house manager of a home for developmentally disabled citizens occasionally had to travel to meetings at the employer's headquarters or conduct business-related banking. He went to a meeting and the bank and was permitted to take an extended personal lunch break to visit with his father. He began to drive back to the home when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. He sustained an injury to his neck. The manager sought workers' compensation benefits. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to benefits.
The court rejected the manager's argument that, based on his work schedule, his travel to the home after a deviation from work to conduct personal errands and lunch should not be barred by the coming and going rule. The court explained that he engaged in a personal deviation from work and was returning to work at a fixed situs at the time of his injury. His deviation from work for personal reasons took him outside the course of employment.
The court pointed out that the accident occurred in a different area than the route the manager would have taken if he continued his workday after concluding his banking duties. The employer had no control over the scene of the accident or his route in returning from his personal leave. The court also found that the employer did not receive any cognizable benefit from the manager's presence at the scene of the accident.
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May 28, 2013
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