THE SUPREME COURT EXPANDS COVERAGE FOR THE TRAVELING EMPLOYEE
If you travel for work, you will find great interest in a recent Nevada Supreme Court case regarding the traveling employee. In Buma v. Providence, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 60 (2019), the Court not only analyzed the issues surrounding the traveling employee, but they expanded the coverage available to them and essentially confirmed rules which support acceptance of the instant claim.
Here are key take aways from the case:
- A traveling employee is entitled to expanded coverage for travel-related injuries.
- A traveling employee is in the course of employment continuously for the duration of the trip, excepting the employee’s distinct departures on personal errands.
- The traveling employee is entitled to broader coverage under the personal comfort rule than would be a non-traveling employee.
- The risks associated with travel are deemed employment risks.
In looking at the traveling employee, the Court noted that “there is no choice but for traveling employees to face hazards away from home in order to tend to their personal needs, ‘including sleeping, eating, and seeking fresh air and exercise,’ and reasonably entertaining themselves, on their work trips.”
Even though there the coverage is broader for a traveling employee because of the risks associated with travel away from home, a traveling employee cannot recover for injuries sustained while on a personal errand which is found to be a distinct departure from the employer’s business. To determine whether a traveling employee left the course of employment by distinctly departing on a personal errand, the inquiry focuses on the following:
- Was the employee tending reasonably to the needs of personal comfort, or encountering hazards necessarily incidental to the travel or work; or
- Was the employee pursuing a strictly personal amusement venture.
The focus is on the nature of the activity and the activity’s purpose, considered in the context of the work and the trip, rather than the travel status of the employee. LaTourette v. Workers Comp. Appeals Bd., 951 P.2d 1184, 1188 (Cal. 1998).
If you are traveling for business and you suffer an injury, report it immediately to your employer (Form C-1), file a workers compensation claim (Form C-4) and then seek legal counsel by a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.
Herb is a NJA Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist. He is recognized by the National Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group as one of America’s leading attorneys representing injured workers. Herb was also selected as the 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year in Nevada.