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Airline employee's fall in parking lot owned by the Department of Aviation is a compensable injury.

January 1, 2019
Piedmont Airlines, Inc. and New Hampshire Insurance Company c/o Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. v. WCAB (Watson); 468 C.D. 2018; filed Aug. 20, 2018; Sr. Judge Pellegrini

The claimant was given a badge that gave him access to certain areas of the Philadelphia International Airport, including employee parking lots. The Department of Aviation, which owned, operated and maintained the parking lots, issued the badges, and the employer paid a processing fee for them. After being dropped off at one of these lots and as he walked toward a bus shelter, the claimant slipped and fell on a pile of snow, injuring his right hand. The claimant unsuccessfully attempted a return to work and later filed a claim petition. The employer issued a denial, which indicated the claimant was not on the employer’s premises at the time of injury.

A workers’ compensation judge granted the claim petition, concluding that the claimant slipped and fell while walking in an employee parking lot that required an identification card for entry. The employer appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, which affirmed.

The employer appealed to the Commonwealth Court, arguing that the claimant was not injured in the course of employment because the employer did not require the claimant to use the parking lot. In addition, the employer argued that the claimant’s presence in the lot was not required because he did not drive to work or park a car in the lot on the date of injury. The Commonwealth Court rejected these arguments and dismissed the appeal. The court held under § 301(c)(1) of the Act, the claimant was on the employer’s premises at the time of the injury. Although employees were not mandated to use the DOA parking lots, the claimant’s presence in the parking lot to catch the employee shuttle bus was so connected with his employment relationship that is was required by the nature of his employment.

 

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2019

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