When is the workday of an employee complete? This is a question that isn’t as easy to answer as it might appear. The answer, though, is crucial. Someone injured during the course of employment could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Many workers might think their day is over when they walk out the door en route to their cars or to the bus stop. But most of the time, a business’s property doesn’t end at the door. A worker who parks in an employee parking lot is still on work property while walking to his or her vehicle. Theoretically, as long as the worker is in the parking lot — or his or her vehicle is, while the worker is inside it — then the worker is on company property.
It might seem like splitting hairs to get to this level of detail, but that’s exactly what happened in a New Jersey courtroom recently. A dealer at an Atlantic City casino had finished her shift and was pulling out of the parking lot onto the street. Unfortunately, she pulled out in front of an oncoming car; she was injured in the crash.
The key to the case was the fact that the woman’s car had not completely left the parking lot at the time of the crash; in fact, the final 12 inches or so of the rear of her vehicle hadn’t yet cleared the edge of the parking lot. An appellate court ruled this month that the woman’s accident occurred during the course of her employment because her car, or part of it, was still on work property. As a result, she is eligible to receive workers’ comp for the time she missed at work.
While it might have seemed like a longshot that the woman could win a case like this, she did. This is why it can be important to have solid legal advice when embarking on a quest to receive workers’ compensation.
Source: USA Today, “Casino dealer wins workers’ comp fight by a foot,” Jim Walsh, Jan. 22, 2014