Case name: Perun v. City of Danbury, et al., No. AC 34713 (Conn. App. Ct. 06/11/13).
Ruling: The Connecticut Appellate Court held that a police officer was not entitled to benefits for an injury that occurred in his driveway on his way to work.
What it means: In Connecticut, a police officer's commute to work is part of his course of employment. However, an officer is not entitled to benefits for an injury that occurred in his place of abode.
Summary: A police officer slipped and fell on a patch of ice in his driveway as he approached his vehicle to leave for work. He went to work and reported the injury to the city the next day. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The city denied the claim, asserting that the officer's injury did not arise out of and in the scope of his employment because the injury occurred at his place of abode. The Connecticut Appellate Court held that the officer was not entitled to benefits.
The court explained that a police officer's course of employment encompasses his commute from his "place of abode" to duty. An injury does not arise out of the employment if it is sustained at the worker's place of abode and while the worker is engaged in acts in preparation for work unless the acts are undertaken at the express direction or request of the employer. The workers' compensation statute defines a worker's "place of abode" to include the inside of the residence, the garage, driveway, and yard.
The court explained that an officer's commute does not begin when he "breaks the plane of his front door." The court said that an injury occurring in a driveway does not occur in the course of employment. In this case, the officer "had not crossed the demarcation line" when he sustained his injury.
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August 12, 2013
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