Employee Driving Company Truck to Job Site Not “In the Course and Scope of Employment” Under Workers Disability Compensation Act

The Court of Appeals (in a 2-1 majority opinion) issued a significant case yesterday, albeit unpublished, holding that an employee driving a company vehicle to a job site location in another part of the state was not “in the course and scope of his employment” when injured in a traffic accident while en route to the job site.

The Court of Appeals opinion is here:  Little, et al. v. Kappen Tree Service, et al. COA (1).

The Court of Appeals cites the general rule that ordinarily injuries received while employees are traveling to and from work are not compensable by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage because such injuries do not “arise out of and in the course of” employment within the meaning of the Michigan Workers Disability Compensation Act (WDCA), MCL 418.101, et seq.  MCL 418.301 requires for an injury to be compensable it must both “arise out of” and occur “in the course of employment”.

The Court of Appeals reasons that the employee faced no special risks other than those faced by the ordinary commuter to and from work.

Judge Hoekstra dissents.  He reasons that the employee was performing a “dual purpose” and therefore an exception to the “going to and coming from” exclusion applied.   The “dual purpose” was the employee bringing another employee to the job site so that employee could drive another vehicle home the day of the accident.  Judge Hoekstra would have found that the employee was “in the course and scope of his employment” and therefore covered by workers compensation, rather than no-fault automobile liability insurance.

This is an important case given the many disputes between no-fault automobile liability insurers and employers and their workers’ compensation insurers when an accident occurs in a vehicle while the employee is traveling to or from work, or driving his or her vehicle during the work day.

If anyone has questions regarding this decision, please contact Carson J. Tucker, JD, MSEL at (734) 218-3605.




About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Administrative Law, Appeals, Appeals and Legal Research, Appellate Lawyer, Automobile Insurance Claims, Business and Commercial Litigation, General Liability, Insurance and Indemnity, Insurance Coverage, Insurance Law, Insurance Lawyer, May It Please the Court, Michigan Court of Appeals Orders, Michigan Court of Appeals Unpublished Opinions, Michigan No-Fault Insurance, Recent Judicial Dispositions, Workers' Compensation Cases and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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