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Could Electrician Run Over by Drunk Colleague Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

07 Jun, 2023 Chris Parker

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Syracuse, NY ( – Employees who are intoxicated when they are injured generally have difficulty showing they suffered a compensable injury.

But what if, despite the worker’s drinking, it was an intoxicated coworker that caused the injury? A case involving an electrician in New York addresses that situation.

The electrician was on standby with his employer, due to severe weather. While on standby, he went out to lunch with some coworkers. At lunch, he said, he had about “one and a half beers.”

After lunch, the group, including the electrician, commenced working. One of the electrician’s coworkers, who was speeding at the time, ran him over with a bucket truck. The coworker was intoxicated at the time.

An emergency room medical report taken after the accident indicated that electrician was "alert" and "not intoxicated."

The workers’ compensation board acknowledged that the electrician deviated from his employer’s policies against drinking alcohol while on the job. Nevertheless, it found that the electrician was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident and that his injuries were compensable.

The company appealed.

The court explained that an employee's injury is compensable only if it arises out of and in the course of employment. Further, the mere fact that a claimant combined business with some pleasure will not defeat his claim unless the accident resulted from risks produced by the personal activities.

Was electrician acting within the scope of his employment?

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