The Georgia Court of Appeals recently upheld a decision that workers injured in a motor vehicle accident that occurred during their commute to a job site are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation system in Georgia provides benefits to employees who are accidentally injured in the course of their employment, as long as there is a causal relationship between the injury and the employee’s work duties. As a result, Georgia employees who are required to travel to a job location or as part of their job duties may face significant challenges when applying for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured during their commute. If you have been injured on the job in Georgia, consult our knowledgeable workers' compensation attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today for legal help.
Deadly Accident Occurs During Work Commute
The construction workers involved in this particular case lived in Savannah and commuted with several co-workers four hours to Columbus every Monday morning, to work on a church construction project. At the end of each week, the construction workers returned to Savannah to spend the weekends at home. Although the workers’ employer did not compensate the men for their travel time, their lodging was paid for during their stays in Columbus. As the workers were commuting to work one Monday morning, their vehicle was involved in an accident just a few minutes from the job site and flipped, killing one of the men and severely injuring another.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Denied
The construction workers were initially denied workers’ compensation benefits because an administrative law judge determined that the injuries occurred while the employees were on their way to work, not during work. The case was appealed to the appellate division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, which upheld the original ruling. The Georgia Court of Appeals also agreed with the administrative law judge that the workers’ injuries did not arise out of or in the course of their employment. According to the appellate court, had the accident occurred after the construction workers began their work duties – i.e. not on their way to begin the work week on a Monday – they might have been covered under the continuous employment doctrine, which applies to workers who are sent out overnight and stay away from home for their job.
Contact Our Skilled Attorneys for Legal Help
Too often, workers’ compensation benefits are denied to employees in Georgia and across the United States who deserve to be compensation for their injuries and medical bills. If you have suffered an on-the-job injury in Georgia, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights. With the help of an experienced lawyer in Georgia, you may be able to appeal your denied workers’ compensation claim, or fight to receive the medical, disability or death benefits you are entitled to. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak have experience defending the rights of injured workers throughout the state of Georgia, and will work diligently to help you pursue the reimbursement you deserve for your losses.