Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Going and Coming Lesson

The Education Department at WorkCompCentral is in the middle of a pilot program to place young lawyers into the work comp industry.

Working with Pepperdine University School of Law (my alma mater of course) we have a handful of graduates who have taken the bar exam and awaiting results whom we are educating on the intricacies of work comp, and having them mentored by both defense and applicant firms so they can get a feel for the practice experience.

Then, assuming they pass the bar, we will try to place them with a firm seeking young professionals with adequate "experience" so that the firm can put that graduate to immediate work. 
Going or coming?

Of course, there is also mentoring and follow up that WorkCompCentral provides too - and just the other day I had one of the graduates in my office Monday for her two hour slot, and I grilled her on AOE/COE, and more particularly the "exceptions" and the "exceptions to the exceptions."

So I challenged Cynthia on AOE/COE, and in particular the Going and Coming Rule...

It just so happened that on Monday the Idaho Supreme Court released an opinion on an excellent sample case!

In Kelly v. Blue Ribbon Linen Supply, No. 42658, 11/02/2015, published, Barbara Kelly, a Blue Ribbon Linen Supply employee, suffered a foot injury in September 2013 when a cart rolled over her foot. Blue Ribbon paid her medical and time-loss benefits for her injury.

In November 2013, Blue Ribbon's insurance carrier directed Kelly to attend a medical evaluation with Dr. Robert Friedman in Post Falls.

It is approximately 125 miles each way from Kelly's workplace in Lewiston to Post Falls.

Kelly attended the evaluation, and on her way home, she got into a car accident.

She was not at fault for the crash, which involved a head-on collision with a Ford F150 that had crossed the centerline of US 95.

Kelly suffered severe physical injuries to her lower extremities, and her doctor restricted her from any weight-bearing on her legs, which necessitated her admission to a skilled nursing facility while she recovered.

Blue Ribbon disputed the compensability of Kelly's injuries from the car accident, and the Industrial Commission found her injures were not compensable because they were the product of an intervening cause rather than Kelly's employment or original injury.

The Supreme Court found otherwise: Kelly's trip to the doctor was made at the request of her employer's insurance carrier, for the benefit of the carrier, and she had a statutorily-imposed duty to go to the examination.

"In our view, Kelly's situation is analogous to two situations where compensation is available to the worker: the special errand and traveling employee exceptions to the coming and going rule," the court said.

"When an employee's work requires him to travel away from the employer's place of business or his normal place of work, the employee is covered by worker's compensation," the court explained.

In this case, the court posited, "Kelly was essentially required by her employer to travel away from her normal place of business, Lewiston, for an IME in Post Falls."

So there you go Cynthia - an adept lesson in the going and coming rule, and exceptions.

Welcome to the world of workers' compensation!

*******shameless plug*******

If you or your firm is interested in our program, please contact David Weiss or Floydell Carter for more information. We need new people in work comp, and this is our first step towards getting more folks interested in the industry as a career. There is no cost to the graduate (they don't have any money anyhow!) and the cost to the employing firm is $3,500 - what we would charge for that educational package.

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