Pennsylvania Court Addresses Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation When Employee is Hurt Off of the Employer’s Property
In a previous post we discussed the requirements that an Employee be in the course and scope of employment while injured to be eligible for Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits. In the recent case of U.S. Airways v. WCAB, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court addressed a course and scope case involving an Employee who was injured off of the Employer’s property while coming to work.
In U.S. Airways, the injured worker was flight attendant who was required to park in a designated employee parking lot owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia for use by all airport employees. After parking, all airport employees were required to take a shuttle bus to the airport terminal where they began their shift. U.S. Airways did not exercise control over the parking lot or the shuttles nor did it require its employees to use the parking lot or the shuttle. The injured worker had finished her work day and was riding the shuttle back to the employee parking lot. After boarding the shuttle bus, the employee attempted to lift her suitcase onto the luggage racks and while doing so, slipped on some accumulated water on the floor of the shuttle causing her injury.
In defending the case, the Employer argued that the employee was not in the course and scope of employment and therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The Employer first argued that the injury did not occur on the Employer’s premises and therefore was not compensable. The Court rejected that argument finding that the shuttle bus is such an integral part of Employer’s business as to be part of the premises, in addition to being a customary means of ingress and egress.
Second, the Employer argued that Claimant’s presence on the shuttle bus was not required, as the Employer gave her no directive on where to park, or whether to use the shuttle bus. The Court found that the Claimant’s presence on the shuttle bus was a necessary part of her employment, because it was the means by which she traversed between her work station (i.e., the terminal) and the parking lot designated for airport employees. Therefore, the nature of her employment required her to be there which was sufficient to meet the course and scope requirements.
If you have been injured going to or coming from work, you could be eligible for Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you have questions regarding your eligibility you should speak with an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorney.