eNotes: Workers’ Compensation – March 2023 – Virginia
March 17, 2023
SIGNIFICANT CASE SUMMARIES
Virginia Case Summary
Kegley v. Hot-Rock Haulers, LLC
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Decided January 25, 2023
A truck driver was not in the course and scope of employment when he was assaulted by other drivers in a road rage incident.
Claimant drove a tractor trailer, which had a large blind spot. Claimant changed lanes to avoid a parked cement truck on the side of the road, and while doing so his trailer struck another vehicle without realizing it. As the driver of the other car pulled up next to Claimant, the driver and his two passengers hung out of the windows yelling at Claimant. They then cut Claimant off, and forced him to stop on the side of the road. The three men then attacked him with a pipe.
The Deputy Commissioner found that the injuries did not arise out of his employment, because he could not prove that the attack was directed against him as an employee or because of the employment. Claimant appealed.
The Full Commission reversed, finding that the evidence showed the attack was not personal, and was directed against Claimant because of the employment. The nexus of risk of the employment was sufficiently close to the assault such that his injury arose out of the employment. Among the factors cited by the Commission were that the attack was business related, Claimant did not know his assailants, and there was no evidence that the incident arose from anything other than Claimant’s driving around the parked cement truck. Therefore, the risks were peculiar to the Claimant’s employment, and the injuries were compensable.
Cases involving assault are very fact-specific, but the Full Commission has been taking a more expanded view of compensability in cases involving assaults.
Questions about this case can be directed to Mike Bliley, Esquire at 571-464-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.