It is axiomatic that under most modern workers’ compensation regimes, an employee has the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits when injured by an accident arising out of and in the course of his or her employment. In Louisiana, these two concepts, “arising out of” and “in the course of,” are mutually independent concepts, such that a strong showing on one can overcome a weaker showing on the other.
In Frazier v. City of Shreveport, the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal was asked to review a trial court decision dismissing a plaintiff’s personal injury case on the basis of workers’ compensation exclusivity on the grounds that the injury occurred on the employer’s premises before 5 PM, while the plaintiff was still on duty. In upholding the dismissal, the Court noted that the alleged tortfeasor and plaintiff worked from 8 AM to 5 PM each workday and that the accident occurred in an airfield maintenance parking lot, which is the designated area for maintenance employees and restricted for outside access. Although employees generally waited 10-15 minutes in the parking lot, they were not allowed to leave until 5 PM. At ten minutes before 5 PM, the alleged tortfeasor observed plaintiff back her vehicle out of its parking spot. She stopped behind the alleged tortfeasor, and her vehicle was subsequently struck by the alleged tortfeasor when he backed from his parking spot. The trial court found that the accident occurred in the course of plaintiff’s employment because she was serving the interests of her employer by remaining on the work premises until 5 PM, a finding upheld by the appellate court.
Importantly, the court declined to apply the “going-and-coming” rule, as plaintiff was still on duty and physically present on her employer’s premises when the accident happened.
Frazier v. City of Shreveport