Court Denies Benefits for Claimant Hit by Drunk Driver While Walking Back to Hotel

Generally speaking, Georgia workers’ compensation claimants may be entitled to benefits if they are injured while working at an out-of-town job site. However, in a recent case a court rejected a claimant’s request for benefits after he was hit by a drunk driver while working out-of-town.

car accidentThe claimant had been working as a laborer on a roofing job in another town. The claimant and other employees working on the project were staying at the hotel during the week. Every day, the claimant and the other employees would leave around 6 or 7 am in company trucks and return around 6 or 7 pm. The workers were paid from the time they left the hotel until the time they arrived back. After they arrived back at the hotel, the workers were free to do what they wanted. The workers were allowed to use a company truck to run errands if they obtained permission, but were not allowed to take a company truck to a bar.

The night of the injury, the claimant was walking from a bar across the street to his hotel in the early morning when he was hit by a drunk driver. He suffered serious injuries, including having to have his right leg, a finger, and a toe amputated. He applied for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming that his injuries were the result of a hazard created by the requirement that he travel to the roofing project. The administrative law judge granted him benefits, but the Workers Compensation Board denied the claim.

The appellate court upheld the Board’s decision, denying his claim for benefits. The court found that under state law, the claimant’s injuries did not arise out of or in the course of his employment. The court concluded he was not at work at the time of his injury because his work day had concluded when he returned to the hotel at the end of the day, and the time when he was at the bar was not related to his work.

Arising Out of and in the Course of Employment

In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, a claimant must show that the injury “arose out of and in the course of the employment.” A claimant has to prove that there is a causal connection between the injury and the conditions of the claimant’s employment. Normally, an injury that occurs during an employee’s travel to or from work does not arise out of and in the course of employment. However, under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, in some cases, an employee that is required to stay in another area to work on a job site may be entitled to benefits under the “continuous employment doctrine.”

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have been injured on the job, contact a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. At the Georgia law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C., we have decades of experience handling Georgia workers’ compensation claims. Because our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys were previously insurance defense attorneys, our office has the advantage of understanding the other side’s perspective in order to advance our clients’ cases at trial or through settlement. Our Georgia law firm offers quality legal representation and responsive client service. For a free consultation, call us at 404-303-7770 or contact us through our online form.

More Blog Entries:

Court Holds that Employer’s Request for Hearing Did Not Permit Employee to Obtain Treatment from Unapproved Physician, July 6, 2018, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

Employee Obtains Benefits for Back Injury Despite Similar Previous Injuries, June 20, 2018, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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