• A Claimant is not Entitled to an Award of Benefits for Injuries Sustained in a Motor Vehicle Accident that Occurred while the Claimant was Driving to Work to Attend an Employer Meeting.
  • January 23, 2015 | Author: Francis X. Wickersham
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - King Of Prussia Office
  • The claimant filed a claim petition alleging that he sustained a brain injury as a result of an automobile accident while commuting to the employer’s premises for a meeting. The employer held two types of safety meetings: monthly safety meetings and stand-down meetings. The monthly safety meetings were held on a consistent basis, and the stand-down meetings were held when serious accidents or fatalities occurred and were more infrequent than the monthly meetings. The claimant admitted that the meetings were part of his regular work duties. The claimant sustained his injuries while commuting to what was a dual meeting-the stand-down meeting was incorporated into the scheduled monthly safety meeting.

    The Workers’ Compensation Judge issued an interlocutory order, concluding that the claimant was in the course and scope of his employment when he was injured and finding that the claimant met the “special mission” exception to the coming and going rule. On appeal, the Appeal Board reversed, concluding that the claimant was not in the course and scope of his employment at the time of his injury.

    The Commonwealth Court affirmed the Board. They disagreed with the claimant’s argument that he was on a special mission since the employer replaced the monthly safety meeting with a stand-down meeting, which the claimant described as more compulsory. The court also rejected the claimant’s argument that the “special circumstances” exception to the coming and going rule applied, finding that commuting to work early for a stand-down meeting and work place safety meeting was not in furtherance of the employer’s safety goals.

    Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2015