Alabama Workers' Comp Blawg

  • 02
  • Aug
  • 2010

Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment Due to Evidence of Exceptions to Going and Coming Rule

Michael Chad McDaniel v. Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Company:

On July 30, 2010 the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a summary judgment based on the "going and coming rule." Under the "going and coming" rule, if an accident occurs while a worker is traveling to or from work, such accident falls outside of the course of employment requirement necessary for recovery of a workers’ compensation injury. In reversing the summary judgment of the lower court; the Court of Appeals held that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the employee had already commenced his workday prior to the accident. 

The facts revealed that the employee was injured on his way to "rig down" an oil rig located at a site in Creola, Alabama. The night before the accident the employee had slept in a trailer located at a site in Chunchula, Alabama. This trailer was provided by the employer and had been in use at the Creola site. It had been moved to the Chunchula site in anticipation of moving the rig to that site. In keeping with company policy, the employee attended a safety meeting at the Chunchula site prior to going to the Creola site for the "rig down."

The Court of Appeals found that there was enough presented evidence to preclude a summary judgment. The Court found there was a dispute as to whether the employee was required to stay in the crew trailer on the night prior to the accident and whether his workday began with the safety meeting conducted at the Chunchula work site. Since such a dispute existed; the Court found that summary judgment was improper and remanded the case to the Circuit Court for further proceedings.

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