The District Court of Appeal recently issued an opinion stemming from an employee’s appeal of his Florida workers’ compensation claim. The employee worked as a baggage handler for a major airline when the accident occurred. On the day of the incident, the claimant clocked out walked through security toward a parking lot shuttle bus stop when he injured his calf stepping off of the curb. The claimant reported the accident to his superiors and visited an on-site medical clinic the next day. The clinic workers provided the claimant with pain medications, crutches, a boot, and a prescription for an MRI. After his MRI, providers referred him to an orthopedist. His employer and later the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) denied his claim for benefits.
On appeal, amongst several issues, the claimant argued that the JCC improperly applied the “going or coming” statute under § 440.092(2). The statute typically precludes workers’ compensation benefits for injuries while an employee is commuting to or from work. Under the law, injuries occurring while going or coming to work are not an injury “arising in and out of” or under the “course and scope of” employment. This preclusion applies whether or not the employer-provided transportation if transportation was available for exclusive personal use by the employee. An exception applies if the employee was on a “special mission” for the employer.
The employee argues that the statute does not apply in his case. Instead, he cites the premises rule. Under the premises rule, an employee with fixed hours and place of work who suffers injuries while going to or from work is in the course of employment if it happened on the employer’s premises. He contends that the injury occurred while traveling the area between two parts of his employer’s premises. In support, he purports that the public areas between his job site and the parking lot are part of the regularly used premises of the employer.