The Supreme Court of Idaho on Tuesday ruled that a salesman who was injured while scraping is off the windshield of a company truck on his way to work is eligible for workers compensation benefits under exceptions to the state's "coming and going" rule.
According to documents in Matthew Atkinson v. 2M Co. Inc. and Employers Assurance Co. filed in Supreme Court in Boise, Idaho, Mr. Atkinson was a salaried employee of 2M, a wholesaler of well drilling and irrigation supplies known for giving "legendary service" to customers by supplying technical assistance at the customer's place of business, running parts to them, and assisting in the installation of those parts. 2nd provided Mr. Atkinson with a pickup truck owned by the company, with gas and maintenance paid by the company, so that it had the ability to call on potential and existing customers.
Mr. Atkinson, who would respond to an average of two or three emergency customer calls per week, often late into the evening, was scheduled to work on March 1
Atkinson's wife needed to retrieve her car to pick up their children, who had spent the night at their grandparent's house. Mr. Atkinson planned to drop his wife off at the bar and go to work for his shift. The couple left their home together in his company pickup truck the morning of the accident, with the bar on the way to Mr. Atkinson's usual route to 2M's office, according to court documents.
However, the couple was leaving their subdivision, Mr. Atkinson noticed that he could not see the front windshield due to frost, so he pulled over to the side of the road to the windshield with a credit card. As he was scraping the windshield he was struck by another vehicle, suffering significant injuries to his right leg and shoulder, records state . Atkinson filed a complaint with the Workers Compensation Commission, which “found that Atkinson was entitled to benefits because he was injured in the course of his employment as he was traveling to work in employer-provided transportation when the accident occurred. to "reasonable medical benefits for injuries sustained" in the accident
2M and its insurer, Employer Assurance, appealed to the state Supreme Court on the grounds that there was no proof that Mr. Atkinson was paid for his travel to work, as he was a salaried employee, and that the accident did not occur within the scope of his employment, citing that "the Commission impermissibly expanded the court's payment-for-travel-time doctrine to hold that Atkinson's accidental loss of and in the course of his employment with 2M, records states.
The five-judged panel of the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed with the commission's ruling on compensability, the going and coming rule, 'including: (1) the special errand; (2) the traveling employee; (3) peculiar risk; (4) the dual purpose doctrine. ""
The state's highest court, however, did not award Mr. Atkinson attorney's fees, stating that "we have agreed with 2M's arguments on the speculative nature of the Commission's reasoning."
Officials with 2M and its insurer could not immediately be reached for comment.