It can come as a surprise to some employees in Essex County, Massachusetts that they may be covered by workers’ compensation benefits as they are leaving their place of employment. Many workers think that once they are off the clock, the benefits stop there, but this may not be the case.

This point is illustrated by a casino employee who was injured while leaving work on September 19, 2012. Although she was almost completely off the property when the accident occurred, she was still able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

The woman worked as a dealer at Harrah’s Atlantic City. After she finished her shift, she was leaving the parking lot in her SUV. As she was making a legal left turn onto the road outside the casino, another vehicle slammed into the driver’s side of her SUV. According to a police report and security camera footage, the employee’s car was still partially on Harrah’s property by a foot.

A month after the accident took place, the worker petitioned for workers’ compensation benefits for her injuries. Harrah’s denied responsibility for the accident in January 2013. The case was heard by the Division of Workers’ Compensation in May 2013 which ruled that because part of the car was still on Harrah’s property, the employee was still in her course of employment and therefore entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Harrah’s appealed the decision, saying that the premises rule was misapplied in this case. However, the appellate court recently denied the appeal, and the order for workers’ compensation benefits for the employee will stand.

Source: Insurance Journal, “N.J. Casino Dealer Wins Workers’ Comp Dispute by a Foot,” Feb. 10, 2014

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