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TN Court Awards Workers’ Comp Benefits to On-Call Health Care Worker Injured on Way Home

by mdp | April 26th, 2013

crutches_thumbThe Supreme Court of Tennessee ruled last month in favor of an on-call surgical technician who was injured while driving home after assisting with an emergency surgery at a Tennessee hospital. According to the court, the injured worker is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because she falls within an exception to the rule under the TN Workers’ Compensation Act that prohibits compensation when the employee is injured while traveling to or from work. If you have suffered injuries in a workplace accident in Tennessee, contact our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits for your injuries and medical expenses, which our experienced lawyers can help you pursue.

TN Worker Injured While Driving Home From Work

Before her injury, Tina Shannon was a surgical technician at the Roane Medical Center in Harriman, Tennessee, where she worked a regular schedule from 7:00am to 3:00pm, Monday through Friday, and also covered on-call shifts on a rotating basis. On April 19, 2010, Shannon was still on call as she returned home after assisting with emergency surgery, and was involved in a car accident that took place when another driver crossed over the center line and into the path of her vehicle. As a result of her car accident injuries, Shannon missed 37 weeks of work, and she filed a suit seeking workers’ compensation benefits for her medical expenses and loss of income.

Trial Court Denies Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Shannon’s employer denied compensability for her injuries and argued that the worker was injured in a car accident, not in the course and scope of her employment as required under Tennessee workers’ compensation laws. In Tennessee, an employee injury giving rise to a workers’ compensation claim must arise out of and occur in the “course of employment.” The general rule is that a worker is not acting within the course of employment while traveling to and from work, unless the injury occurs on the employer’s premises. As a result, the trial court found in favor of the employer and denied Shannon workers’ compensation benefits, maintaining that an injury sustained while traveling to or from a place of employment was not compensable, despite Shannon’s on-call status.

Contact Our Qualified Attorneys for Legal Help

Upon learning of the trial court’s decision, Shannon appealed her case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that courts should consider the individual circumstances when determining whether the “coming and going rule” applies to an on-call worker. Looking at the totality of circumstances in Tina Shannon’s case, the Supreme Court found that Shannon satisfied the key elements for the exception to the “coming and going rule,” which rendered her eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident in Tennessee, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, consult our qualified lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates for legal help. With our attorneys on your side, you can pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.


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