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Arising Out of and In the Course of Employment

An entire area of law has developed out of the phrase "arising out of and in the course of employment". These words refer to the nexus between the cause of the accident and the employment. To arise out of the employment a link must be established between the accident and the employment. “In the course of employment” means that the employee is helping the employer’s business goals in doing the activity where the injury occurred. There are several subtopics that have arisen in this body of law. There have been many exceptions carved out in the law regarding this area of the law. Essentially, exceptions have been carved out in case law where some cases are either found to be compensable or not compensable because of these exceptions.

1. Idiopathic Injuries

Idiopathic injuries are not compensable. These types of injuries occur when there is an unknown cause of the injury. There have been cases of stroke on the job or someone collapses that are found to be idiopathic injuries and not compensable. There are some exceptions that can be made depending upon the work environment.

2. Going to and Coming From Work

This is frequently called the going and coming rule. Generally speaking, employees that are injured either going to or coming from work are not entitled to compensation under the workers compensation act. There can be exceptions to this general rule if the employer provided a vehicle or paid for the transportation. Employees whose job requires them to travel may also have a compensable claim.

3. Dual Purpose Doctrine

This is another exception to the general rule and occurs when an employee is asked to drive somewhere to do something of benefit for the employer. In cases such as this, the claim may found to be compensable if the employee was doing something in furtherance of the employer’s business.

4. Premises Exception

Once an employee reaches the premises of their employment, they are deemed to be covered for an accident should something happen while they are not on the clock, but are on the premises that is either owned by or provided by the employer.

5. Proximity or Special Hazard Exception

When a special hazard exists that is unique to the employment and the employee has left the premises of the employer, an injury that occurs because of that special hazard may be compensable. This is a difficult are of the law that requires special consideration to the special hazard.

6. Special Errand Exception

If a worker is on a specific errand for the employer, the case may be compensable. If the employee was asked to run that special errand and the worker was injured while running the special errand, the case could be found compensable. This exception can be similar to the dual purpose doctrine.

7. Off Duty Injuries

Injuries that occur when the employee is on a short break could be found compensable. Some factors that should be examined would be how often these breaks were taken, the duration of the breaks, the deviation from the employment and whether these breaks were permitted.

8. Horseplay

Horseplay from an injured worker could stop that employee from recovering benefits. Usually, the one who initiated the horseplay will not be rewarded. Close examination of the case will reveal facts about the horseplay that will be important including any history of prior horseplay and whether the horseplay has any relationship to the employment.

9. Injuries by Third Persons

Accidents or Injuries caused by the intentional or negligent actions of third parties are compensable.

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