An injury sustained on the way to and from a medical examination is compensable, even if the claimant performs a personal errand along the way – as long as the personal deviation ends prior to the injury.
In this case, claimant’s compensable claim required multiple surgeries. He lived in Grand Junction but had to drive to the Denver area for authorized medical treatment. On one trip down to Denver, claimant attached a trailer full of furniture to bring to his daughter who lived in Fort Collins. After attending his medical exam in Denver, he drove to Fort Collins and unloaded the furniture. Shortly thereafter, when the claimant was on his way back to Grand Junction, he was injured in a motor vehicle accident.
While the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (“Panel”) agreed that going to Fort Collins was a deviation, the deviation ended when claimant returned to westbound I-70. The fact that he was towing a trailer was not a deviation in itself because the primary purpose of the claimant’s trip was for the medical appointment. Although there was a personal benefit to the trip, the Panel cited the “dual purpose doctrine,” which stands for the proposition that an injury suffered by an employee while performing acts for the mutual benefit of the employer and employee is usually compensable. As such, the Panel determined that the claimant’s injuries were compensable.
Prescott v. Schlumberger Technology Corp., W.C. No. 4-849-166-06 (ICAO Sept. 19, 2018)
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