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St. Louis attorney, J. Bradley Young, recently posted an interesting blog article entitledThis Story Shows Why Employers are Frustrated with Workers Comp Judges. In the article, he reported on a New Jersey case in which the claimant was involved in a car accident while driving off of her employer’s property. She was actually in the process of turning out of the employer’s property at the time of the collision. The Coming and Going Rule would have been an excellent defense except for the fact that it was established that the rear bumper of the car was still hanging over the employer’s property at the time of impact. Since New Jersey is a Positional Risk Doctrine state, it was easy for the employee to win once the Court determined that she was, at least partially, on her employer’s property. In Positional Risk Doctrine states, the employee only need show that the accident would not have happened but for her employment. In other words, if she had not been leaving work that day, the accident would have never happened.
MY TWO CENTS:
If this had happened in Alabama, the result would have been different. Assuming that the Alabama judge also agreed that a hanging bumper thwarted the Coming and Going Rule, the employee would still have had her work cut out for her. The reason being that Alabama is an Increased Risk Doctrine state. This means that the employee must prove that the employment somehow increased the risk to the employee of such an accident occurring. Since car accidents happen to people on and off the job, she would have had to show that the employer’s exit was located in a place that made her more susceptible to getting hit. Of course, if that was the case, the employer would have wanted to accept it as a workers’ compensation matter in order to be afforded the protections of the Exclusivity Doctrine.
About the Author
This article was written by Michael I. Fish, Esq. of Fish Nelson LLC, a law firm dedicated to representing employers, self-insured employers and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation matters. Fish Nelson is a member of The National Workers’ Compensation Network (NWCDN). If you have any questions about this article or Alabama workers’ compensation issues in general, please feel free to contact the author firstname.lastname@example.org or any firm member at 205-332-3430.