Traveling Salesman Car Accident In the Course of Employment
The issue is whether the accident occurred in the course of employment. a compensable accident must both arise out of and occur in the course of employment. SeeA.R.S. 23-1021(A) (1995).
In general, an accident "arises out of" employment if its origin or cause is work-related; it occurs "in the course of employment" if the time, place, and circumstances of injury are employment related.
See, e.g., Circle K Store No. 1131 v. Indus. Comm'n, 165 Ariz. 91, 94, 796 P.2d 893, 896 (1990).
When the travel is essentially part of the employment, the risk of injury during activities necessitated by travel remains an incident to the employment even though the employee may not actually be working at the time of the injury.
Buczynski, 934 P.2d at 1174 (quoting State Accident Ins. Fund Corp. v. Reel, 303 Ore. 210, 735 P.2d 364, 367 (Or. 1987).
A worker can act so unreasonably that the worker's choice of method of performing personal comfort activity constitutes a deviation from the course of employment and creates a wholly personal risk. See, e.g., Rodriguez v. Indus. Comm'n, 20 Ariz. App. 148, 150-51, 510 P.2d 1053, 1055-56 (1973) (holding that taking unreasonably dangerous route to bathroom was outside course of employment); accord 2 Larson & Larson, supra, 21.08 at 21-42.
Traveling worker remain within the course of employment continuously during their travel, even when eating and sleeping, except when a "distinct departure on a personal errand" has occurred. 2 Arthur Larson & Lex K. Larson, Larson's Workers' Compensation Law 25.01, at 25-1 to 25-2 (2000); see also Buczynski v. Indus. Comm'n of Utah, 934 P.2d 1169, 1172-74 (Utah Ct. App. 1997) (discussing "continuous coverage" rule for overnight traveling workers and citing cases from several jurisdictions).
Such employees usually do receive protection when the injury has its origin in a risk created by the necessity of sleeping and eating away from home. . . . So when a traveling employee slips in the street, or is struck by an automobile when traveling on foot or is involved in an accident while driving between the hotel and a restaurant, the injury has been held compensable . . . .Larson & Larson, supra, 25.031, at 25-4 to 25-4.1.