Quote of the Day - It's way of driving attorneys out of the workers compensation practice. - Gerald Rosenthal
More HTGS: Off-duty Police Officer Wins Workers Compensation Benefits For Injury
You're on vacation, out running and you fall and break your ankle. You're out of work as a consequence of the injury.
Would you think of applying for Worker's Compensation Benefits? David Tomlin did, and won. Let me explain.
Officer David Tomlin works for the City of Beverly Hills Police Department on the SWAT team. Yes, I know what you're thinking, but I don't believe they had the SWAT team handle the arrests of either Bai Ling or Winona Ryder for shoplifting on Rodeo Drive.
He is, however, required to stay in shape. In fact, he has to take an annual physical exam in January, which apparently included a physical fitness test (think obstacle course here) and he's expected to meet certain physical standards and requirements. Before he went on vacation, the Department told him that his annual physical was set some time after his return. He started training for the test before he went on vacation and while on vacation in December, continued his training.
At the end of a three-mile run in Jackson, Wyoming, he slipped off a curb and broke his ankle. He was out of work for a period of time, and missed the physical. He later took and passed the subsequent physical test.
He applied for worker's compensation coverage, and both the City of Beverly Hills and the Workers Compensation Appeal Board denied his request. He appealed to the Court, which reversed those rulings. The Court argued that it the City had a "reasonable expectation" that Officer Tomlin would train for the physical fitness test while on vacation, and it should have covered his claim.
He was not told to train during his vacation, nor did he tell the City that he would train while on vacation. Justice Sandy R. Kriegler dissented from the majority opinion, stating, "The City of Beverly Hills will undoubtedly be stunned to discover that it is responsible under the workers' compensation law for an injury suffered by an off-duty police officer engaging in his routine recreational activity of running during a personal vacation in the dead of winter in the State of Wyoming, one thousand miles from the officer's place of employment."
Hmm. Does he have a point?
You can read more stories like this one in my How to Get Sued book from Kaplan Publishing to be released June 3rd.