Apr 26

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Denied for Injury Caused by Public Urination

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Workers’ compensation claims can happen in the weirdest ways. However, they are not always compensable.

Recently, Florida 1st District Court of Appeals opined that the Judge of Compensation Claims was right in denying a lock technician’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits while being “on call.” The case was about an employee whose employment required him to be in an ‘on call waiting to be engaged’ status during his shift. The employee was only compensated for the time spent responding to a call and could pursue his own interests between calls. Apparently, one of his own interests between calls is answering to nature’s call and going to the bathroom. On the date of accident, claimant testified he was on the way to a service call when he stopped at a vacant lot to relieve himself. He contends that during his return to his vehicle, he stepped into a hole, fell to the ground and sustained the injury which was the subject of the workers’ compensation claim. The employer denied that the injury occurred within the scope of the employee’s employment.

The Judge of Compensation Claims was apparently provided evidence of a sophisticated computer monitoring and dispatch system which generated service logs for the date on which claimant alleged the accident occurred. The logs contradicted the injured employee’s suggestion that he was on the way to a service call at the time of accident. Based upon the evidence presented, the Judge of Compensation Claims ruled that injured worker was not in the course and scope of his employment. Furthermore, even if he had been in the course and scope of his employment, his choice to engage in the improper conduct of public urination was a clear deviation from employment which prevented him from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The First District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision per curiam.

If the fall occurred inside a local restaurant’s bathroom when the injured worker was in route to a call, I believe the conclusion would be different. The Florida workers’ compensation law allows for some deviation from employment without negating workers’ compensation benefits. So, if you or a friend or family member is denied Florida workers’ compensation benefits, it is important that you talk with an attorney who understands Florida Work Comp law.

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Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured at work and fights for Florida workers’ compensation. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes – has been caring for clients for 57 years. Call Attorney Noyes today at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

  1. Ramakant biswal 13 Mar 2013 | reply

    In contrast, unearned wages are the equivalent of wages and are due just as a normal paycheck comes due. The benefit is payable to the end of the mutually-agreed period of the voyage or until the seaman becomes fit for duty. The big issue often is what defines the voyage. The amount can include bonuses, tips, accumulated shore leave, “comp time,” and similar employment benefits

  2. cooper cook 21 Feb 2013 | reply

    Thanks for the post, and I’m usually all about giving workers the compensation if need be in a serious accident. But this kind of accident seems really out of the ordinary that it’s almost to good to be true. But then again I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll leave the judging up to the professionals http://leifericksonlawoffice.net/ and I’ll let them see what they think of it.

  3. Interesting post! I’m really looking forward to your next article.

  4. The assess of settlement statements certainly made a audio judgment with this situation.

  5. Allan Kenan 20 Jun 2012 | reply

    The judge of compensation claims certainly made a sound verdict with this case. The employee’s “call” wasn’t necessarily in line with the nature of his work. Yes, if the accident happened in a commercial establishment, the verdict would have been different.

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