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What Do You Think: Was N.Y. Detective Trashed by Truck ‘In Course of Employment?’

30 May, 2023 Chris Parker

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Stonybrook, NY ( – Employees are usually not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that occur on their way to work.

But as a case involving a detective struck by a truck on the way to work shows, the reason for the travel on the day in question can impact whether the general rule applies.

The detective’s regular work hours were 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But at 4:15 a.m. one morning, while the detective was on standby, a sergeant called him at home to tell him there had been a grand larceny and the suspect was in custody.

The detective called two other detectives and instructed them to, among other things, investigate, obtain a warrant, and interrogate the suspect.

The detective then headed to the precinct. He was required to go there to obtain a police vehicle before he could go to the crime scene. On the way, around 4:53 a.m., he was stopped at a traffic light when a garbage truck struck his vehicle from behind, injuring him.

The Workers’ Compensation Board denied the detective’s workers’ compensation claim, finding he was not within the scope of his employment while traveling to work.

An injury sustained by an employee is compensable under the Workers' Compensation Law if it arises out of and in the course of the employment. Courts have held that, under the "going and coming" rule, injuries incurred while commuting to work are generally not covered because the risks inherent in traveling to and from work relate to the employment only in the most marginal sense.

Did the injury occur in the course and scope of detective’s employment?

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