Ken Kaup, Partner, Vaughan Baio & Partners
On October 12, 2022 the NJ Appellate Division in Keim v. Above All Termite & Pest Control, ruled that the driver of a company assigned vehicle suffered compensable injuries when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident while retrieving chemical supplies from an employer controlled storage facility on his way to a job site. The court found petitioner’s injuries were compensable under the authorized operation of a vehicle exception and that he was not simply commuting to work or engaging in personal activities unrelated to work. The employer acknowledged the petitioner was an off-premises employee and had been told not to store work chemicals in the vehicle.
If you’re an employer that utilizes company assigned vehicles, what should you take away from this decision?
- It is clear that employees may have two or more places of employment.
- When an employee is required to be away from the employer’s place of employment and is doing authorized work, he or she is covered for workers compensation purposes. Merely using a company assigned vehicle will not be enough to make the activity compensable, the work must be authorized by the employer.
- Engaging an employee in an activity specifically directed by the employer renders that activity compensable.
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