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Worker's Death En Route to Conference Compensable

April 1, 2011
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Related Topics: Workers' Compensation, Finance/Taxes, Benefit Design and Communication, Compensation, Latest News
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A landscape manager was within the “course and scope of his employment” when he died en route to pick up a co-worker to attend a leadership conference, a Texas appeals court found.
The March 30 ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Texas in Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Chantal McVey upholds a lower court's decision rejecting Zurich's argument that Troy McVey's beneficiary was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits because he was not acting in the course and scope of his employment when he died in an auto accident.
On the day of the accident, McVey was driving a company-owned truck he regularly used to perform his work. He was scheduled to attend his employer's leadership conference and planned to pick up the co-worker, who also was required to attend the event and lived near McVey's route to the company gathering, court records show.
Court records also state that the employer “emphasized policies that its employees should be efficient when making company-funded travel and made employees subject to dismissal for repeated perceived abuses.”
Zurich's arguments suggested that McVey essentially was engaged in “an everyday trip to work,” court records state.
But the appeals court found that a “coming-and-going” rule that bars benefits for accidents while traveling to work does not apply in this case. It said McVey was engaged in travel that furthered his employer's business. Therefore, his death is compensable, the court said.  
Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.
 
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