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Wilson v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

    Brief Fact Summary. Wilson (Plaintiff) sustained injuries while driving to work. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Defendant) denied her a worker’s compensation award.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The “going and coming” rule provides that workers’ compensation does not ordinarily compensate injuries sustained what the employee travels to or from work.

    Facts. Plaintiff, a grade school teacher, was injured in an automobile accident after driving her children to school and driving to her own school. In her car, was a small bag containing school supplies, including her teaching manual. Plaintiff claimed the accident arose out and in the course of her employment. The school district did not require teacher to use personal transportation; public transportation was available. Class preparation was often done at home for convenience, although there was time to do it at school. Plaintiff went to the Defendant, attempting to be compensated for her injures. Defendant denied her benefits, making the following principal findings: (1) Plaintiff’s home was not a second job site because her activities outside school hours were matters of personal choice, (2) only convenience motivated Plaintiff’s automobile trip, and (3) the “transportation of the work-related items was not a major part of the trip, nor even a significant alternative reason for t
    he trip.” Plaintiff sought review of this order.

    Issue. Did Plaintiff’s injuries arise out of and in the course of her employment?

    Held. No. Judgment affirmed.
    * The “going and coming” rule provides that worker’s compensation does not ordinarily compensate injuries sustained what the employee travels to or from work. Plaintiff’s home did not constitute a second jobsite warranting exemption from the going and coming rule.
    * If work is performed at home for the employee’s convenience, the commute does not constitute a business trip, since serving the employee’s own convenience in selecting an off-premise place to work is a personal and not business purpose.

    Discussion. Today’s professional frequently takes work home. Although commendable, taking work home does not create a white-collar exception to the going and coming rule.


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