On August 29, 2017, Jonathan Freeman, managing attorney of DGC’s San Francisco office, obtained a “take nothing” order from a WCJ at the Oakland WCAB. No reconsideration was sought, so the decision is final.
The claimed injury involved an itinerant teacher who regularly rode a bicycle to and from work and was injured during her commute by an allegedly negligent automobile driver. The accident caused injury to the applicant’s neck and left shoulder and fractured her left humerus. The employer timely denied liability for the claim based on the going and coming rule.
The employer referred the file to DGC in March of 2017, and the case was immediately fast-tracked for trial, which was completed in July 2017.
At trial, the applicant attempted to show that her home was a second worksite due to the work she did at home, including preparing lesson plans and sending and receiving emails. The applicant also tried to link her commute to her work by emphasizing the work tools and materials she transported to and from her home each day, including musical instruments and paperwork.
DGC was successful in asserting the going and coming rule to completely defeat applicant’s claim by showing that the applicant’s situation fit closely with existing case law barring regular-commute injuries. The WCJ also emphasized – as has the California Supreme Court – that there is no special exception to the going and coming rule for white collar workers who regularly take work home but are not specifically required or instructed to do so.
Findings and Award & Opinion and Decision: Click here