Hospice Family Care v. Allen

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

218 So.3d 1222 | June 10, 2016


ALABAMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS AFFIRMS WORKERS' COMPENSATION DEATH BENEFITS FOR TRAVELLING EMPLOYEE

Employee was a hospice nurse, who travelled to her patients’ home regularly as part of her job duties. At the end of each work day, employee was required to enter patient notes into a database with her laptop computer, which required around two hours time to complete. Hospice Family Care provided their employees with laptop computers and cell phones in order to complete this work from a remote location. Hospice Family Care even advised their nurses that they should avoid coming into the Hospice Family Care facility after hours due to the dangerous neighborhood surrounding the facility.

Employee was traveling home after visiting with patients and was involved in a car accident, which resulted in employee’s death. Employee’s spouse brought a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. The trial court determined that the employee was acting in the line and scope of her duties as an employee. Defendant appealed on the grounds that the employee was heading home, citing the “coming and going” rule, which generally bars claims for workers’ compensation benefits when an employee is injured while heading to and from work.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals agreed with the trial court. Although the employee was heading home, her work-day had not ended. She regularly spent two hours working at home entering her patient data from the day. She was a travelling employee, and was heading home to complete her duties. The fact that she stopped at the pharmacy on the way home was not a substantial deviation from her employment duties. Judgment was affirmed.

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