An entire body of law has grown out of the phrase "arising out of and in the course of employment". These words refer to the link between the cause of the accident and the employment. To arise out of the employment a nexus must be established between the accident and the employment. "In the course of employment" means that the employee is helping the employer's business goals in doing the activity where the injury occurred. There are several subtopics that have arisen in this body of law.
1. Idiopathic Injuries
Idiopathic injuries are not compensable. When there is an unknown cause of the injury it is usually not compensable. An example would be the employee that has a heart attack while on the job. That employee cannot make a claim for that heart attack. Of course there are instances where this claim can be made. If the employment creates a hazard of enhanced danger, the accident may be compensable. This is a tricky area of the law and all aspects of the claim should be examined.
2. Going To And Coming From Work
This is commonly called the going and coming rule. The general rule is that cases are not compensable if the employee is going to work or coming home from work. Of course there are exceptions to this general rule. If the employer is providing a vehicle or is paying for the transportation in some way, the case may be compensable. Sales people that travel as a part of their job would have a compensable case if they were injured while traveling, even if using their own vehicle. Moreover, if a person goes directly to a job site or is going from job site to job site, the claim may be entertained depending on circumstances.
3. Dual Purpose Doctrine
This is also an exception to the general rule and occurs when an employee is asked to drive somewhere to do something of benefit for the employer in addition to the trip home for the employee. In this case. the claim may well be compensable.
4. Premises Exception
Once an employee reaches his place of employment, they are deemed to be covered for an accident should one occur before they are on the clock, but after they have reached the premises that is either owned by the employer or provided by the employer.
5. Proximity Or Special Hazard Exception
When a special hazard exists and the employee has left the premises of the employer, an injury that occurs because of that special hazard may be compensable.
6. Special Errand Exception
There may be yet other instances to the going and coming rule that will allow the worker to claim benefits. If the worker was specifically asked to run a special errand that benefits the employer while being compensated for running the errand and is injured while running the errand, it may fit in the exception.
7. Off Duty Injuries
Injuries that occur during short break may be compensable as well as injuries that occur during a trip for the employers benefit.
Horseplay from an injured worker may bar that worker from receiving benefits. In most cases, the initiator of the horseplay may not be able to claim benefits. Close examination of the facts will reveal facts about the horseplay that will be important including any history of prior horseplay and whether the horseplay has any relationship to the employment. These injuries may be found compensable in some cases if the employee is not guilty of willful misconduct.
9. Injuries By Third Persons
Injuries caused by the willful or negligent acts of third persons are compensable.