Olsten Kimberly Quality Care v. Pettey
In Olsten Kimberly Quality Care v. Pettey, 55 Ark. App. 343, 934 S.W.2d 956 (1996), aff'd, 328 Ark. 381, 944 S.W.2d 524 (1997), the home health care worker traveled to her employer's office to deliver reports and to collect supplies on a regular basis, but she was not required to report to her employer's office each day. Olsten Kimberly Quality Care v. Pettey, 328 Ark. 381, 383, 944 S.W.2d 524 (1997).
The worker used her own vehicle to travel to the homes of her employer's clients and was not compensated for her travel or related expenses. Id. On the date in question, the worker had gone to her employer's office, which was located in a shopping mall, to deliver reports and to obtain supplies. Id. Before leaving for the home of her first assignment, she visited with a friend and did some window-shopping in the mall. Id. She left the mall en route to the first client of the day and was injured in a one vehicle accident. Id.
The worker sought workers' compensation benefits, which the workers' compensation commission awarded to her. Id. Her employer appealed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, which upheld the award. The employer then appealed to the Supreme Court of Arkansas, which affirmed the decision of the court of appeals. Id., 382-83.
The award was upheld because the courts concluded that travel was necessary to and inherent in the worker's employment. "Delivering nursing services to patients at their homes is the raison d'etre of the employer's business, and that traveling to patients' homes is an essential component of that service." Olsten Kimberly Quality Care v. Pettey, supra, 55 Ark. App. 346.
"According to Professor Larson, one of the recognized exceptions to the coming and going rule is where the journey itself is part of the service. It is well-settled law that traveling men are generally within the course of their employment from the time they leave home on a business trip until they return, for the self-evident reason that traveling itself is a large part of the job. 1 Arthur Larson, The Law of Workmen's Compensation 16.01 (1996). Another example of travel being an integral part of the job is where the employee must travel from job site to job site, whether or not he or she is paid for the travel time. Id., 16.23. As stated by Professor Larson: The fact that the employee is not paid for his travel time does not mean that the trip was not in the course of employment. Payment for time is only one of the evidences that the journey itself was part of the service." Olsten Kimberly Quality Care v. Pettey, supra, 328 Ark. 386.
In Olsten Kimberly Quality Care v. Pettey, 328 Ark. 381, 944 S.W.2d 524 (1997), appellee was employed as a nursing assistant and was required to travel to patients' homes to provide nursing services.
She was injured in a one-vehicle accident while she was traveling to the home of a patient.
The Court held that appellee was required by the very nature of her job description to submit herself to the hazards of day-to-day travel back and forth to the homes of her patients, and as such was acting within the course of her employment at the time she was injured.