Case name: Boyle Masonry Construction v. Medellin, No. 2012-CA-001779-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 04/19/13, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a worker's injuries in a motor vehicle accident while riding home from work were compensable.
What it means: In Kentucky, a worker's injuries while driving home from work can be compensable if he was providing a service or benefits to the employer when the accident occurred.
Summary: A worker for a masonry company was a passenger in a company pickup truck driven by his supervisor. The worker and supervisor were on their 74-mile trip home from a work site when the supervisor passed out at the wheel, causing the truck to strike a tree. The worker injured his lower back and right shoulder. The worker did not have a valid driver's license and regularly rode to work with the supervisor with the company owner's knowledge. The company paid for gas and vehicle insurance for the truck provided to the supervisor. The worker sought benefits. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that he was entitled to benefits.
The company denied that the worker sustained a work-related injury because he was done with his workday when the accident occurred. The court explained that generally injuries sustained by workers when they are returning home from work are not needed to arise out of and in the course of employment.
However, transitory activities are covered if the worker is providing a service to the employer. The court found that the service to the employer exception applied because the company derived a benefit from the worker being at the work site.
The court pointed out that the company owner knew that the worker did not have a valid driver's license and that he could not get to a remote work site without a ride from a coworker. The worker worked for the company for 12 years, and the owner did not want to lose his services. The owner permitted the supervisor to transport him.
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July 29, 2013
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