The Supreme Court of New Hampshire on Friday awarded benefits to an employee of the tree company for his injuries in a car accident when he returned home after being released early from his passport due to an approaching storm.
Elba Hawes worked for Asplundh Tree Expert LLC as a “landowner” when his company in November 2019 told him to stop working early at lunchtime, strike out and go home and rest in the afternoon so they could come back at 8pm for storm cleaning activities throughout. at night.
Shortly after driving away from work in his personal vehicle, Hawes was seriously injured in an accident. He was unable to work again until February 2020. Mr Hawes filed a claim for damages, which Asplundh denied, claiming that the injuries were not causal to his employment.
An interrogation officer from the New Hampshire Department of Labor agreed, as did the Compensation Appeals Board.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that it has repeatedly acknowledged that the usual dangers of travel between home and work are not considered employment risks and that damages resulting from such travel are not compensable. Thus, the “come and go”; rule is that injuries that occur during travel to and from work are not compensable for employees with fixed times and fixed places of employment.
Mr Hawes claimed that his injuries were compensable under the “special case” exception to the rule, which is when an employee makes a trip outside the premises that the trip can be entered during the employment due to the fact that the inconvenience and time to make the trip, or the special inconvenience , the danger or urgency of doing so in the particular circumstances, is significant enough to be seen as an integral part of the service itself.
The court, by revoking and detaining, found that Mr Hawe’s damages were compensable under the special case exemption, as his return journey occurred at noon instead of at the end of his regular shift.
“Although it was not uncommon for the work schedule to change due to the weather, the plaintiff’s journey home at lunchtime was not part of his regular schedule,” the court reasoned. “The complainant would not have left work at noon without the employer having been instructed to do so.”
In addition, the court said, when Mr. Hawes left, his day job was not completed.
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