In a unanimous Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, a Philadelphia resident and flight attendant retained her right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for an injury she suffered in an employee parking lot. Her employer, a major U.S. airline company, argued her ineligibility for benefits based on her voluntary decision to use a designated company parking lot. The Keystone State’s Supreme Court judges felt otherwise.
As reported by Business Insurance, the court denied the airline company’s appeal and affirmed the previous decisions made by lower court judges. After the airline’s two unsuccessful previous appeals, the state’s high court found that the designated employee parking area represented part of the airline’s business operations. An injury that occurred in the employee parking lot reflects an incident that took place “on the employer’s premises,” even if the employer leased rather than owned the property.
Flight attendant injuries were the result of a slip and fall
The airline provided its workers with both an employee-only parking area and a shuttle bus service to transport them to and from their vehicles. After boarding the shuttle, the flight attendant slipped on a wet floor and fell while she was attempting to place her luggage in the bus racks.
The fall crushed her left foot and caused injuries that rendered her disabled and unable to work for almost three months. She applied for total disability workers’ compensation benefits to cover her lost time from work, but the airline attempted to deny them.
The employer claimed that the flight attendant was not acting within the scope of her duties when the injury occurred. The airline’s argument was, however, rejected all the way to the state’s high court.
Employers may attempt to deny workers’ comp claims to keep costs down
Regardless of what an employer claims, an employee who incurs a work-related injury or illness has a right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. An employer, however, stands to benefit from limiting the number of successful claims associated with their workplace. The number of claims made affects an employer’s insurance carrier’s premium rates.