Accidents Occurring on Employers’ Premises, But Not at Work Site, Found Compensable
An accident does not need to occur at the work site for the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court to find that the accident was work-related and compensable. The general rule is that an injury occurring on the employer’s premises while the employee moves to and from the work place will be found compensable under the theory that this activity is a necessary incident to the employment. Acton v. Wymore School District #114, 172 Neb. 609, 111 N.W.2d 368 (1961). The following are a few examples.
Injuries sustained on the employers’ parking lots are generally compensable. Buck v. Iowa Beef Processors, Inc., 198 Neb. 125, 251 N.W.2d 875 (1977). For example, a shopping center parking lot provided for the convenience of, and used by, employees of the business located in the center (i.e. strip mall) is considered part of the premises of an employer located in the center. Zoucha v. Touch of Class Lounge, 269 Neb. 89, 690 N.W.2d 610 (2005).
An injury sustained on employers’ premises during the lunch hour, in a lunchroom maintained by and under control of the employer for the exclusive use of its employees, is compensable. Thomsen v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 192 Neb. 236, 219 N.W.2d 746 (1974).
Under certain circumstances, injuries occurring in public areas have been found compensable. For example, in Coffey v. Waldinger Corp., 11 Neb. App. 293, N.W.2d 197 (2002), the employer encouraged its employees to use a fenced lot across from the premises, where employees were allowed to park for free. An employee was then hit and killed by a motorist as the employee attempted to cross the street from the assigned parking lot to the work site. The Court concluded that the employer created a condition under which its employees would necessarily encounter hazards while traveling to the premises where they worked. Accordingly, the Court held that there was a distinct, causal connection between the employer’s encouragement of its employees’ use of the parking lot and the occurrence of the accident.
For more information regarding work-related accidents on an employer’s premises or a public area, contact Sara Hughes at email@example.com or (402) 475-1075.