Two Injuries Sustained in an Employer Parking Lots Result in Different Verdicts
April 4, 2022
There are two situations when an injury can be said to be sustained during the course of employment:
- Where the employee, whether on or off the employer’s premises, is injured while actually engaging in the furtherance of the employer’s business or affairs; or
- Where the employee, although not engaged in the furtherance of the employer’s business or affairs, is
- On the premises occupied or under the control of the employer, or upon which the employer’s business or affairs are being carried on;
- Required by the nature of employment to be present on the employer’s premises; and
- Sustains the injuries caused by the condition of the premises of by operation of the employer’s business theron.
Source: PA Workers Compensation Act of June 2, 1915
The claimant must meet all three requirements for the second situation to be actionable. The following cases examine how injuries that may appear similar at first glance, could end up with very different results once the facts are examined. That is why is it important to consult with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation attorney if you are injured on the job.
In Dowling v. Advanced Eyecare, Ms. Dowling went into work early one morning and fell on ice in the parking lot. The Employer countered that she had violated a positive work order which prohibited employees from arriving early and entering the building for safety reasons. To prove the violation of a work rule, the employer must establish that the injury was caused by the violation of the rule (in this case it was); the employee knew of the rule (in this case, she did); and the rule implicated an activity not connected with the employee’s duties -this is the prong the employer failed. Ms. Dowling arrived early to catch up on her work, so the activity was connected to her duties and she was in the scope of her employment. Therefore, the injured worker was awarded benefits.
In Lewis v. Lehigh Asphalt Paving and Construction Co., Mr. Lewis tore his Achilles tendon when entering his truck in the employer’s parking lot after work. He claimed that the injury was sustained during work while the employer countered it was not. Mr. Lewis had already clocked out and was no longer working, so he did not meet the first situation above – his injury was NOT sustained while in the scope of his employment. Looking at the second situation, the injured worker had to be on the premises of the employer (he was); had to be required to be on the premises due to the nature of his employment (he was) and; had to sustain the injuries caused by the condition of the premises. This is the prong the employee failed. Mr. Lewis did not slip on ice or trip on an obstacle. Rather the injury was caused by his own actions – running and jumping into his truck. Therefore, the injured worker was denied benefits.
If you have injured yourself on the job, contact us online or call (412) 338-1176 for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.