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Drowning at Motel Pool While on Business Trip Covered by Workers' Compensation
Description The Tennessee high court adopted the majority rule that an employee is completely covered during a business trip for any injury that occurs, unless the employee has deviated from the course of employment or is engaged in unreasonable behavior.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation; Travel
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts King was working for his employer away from home. While staying at a motel, he drowned when swimming. His heirs sought workers' compensation benefits. The employer contended that the death was not in the course of employment and therefore not compensable. The trial court agreed and ruled for the employer. King's heirs appealed.
Decision Reversed. "A traveling employee is generally considered to be in the course of his or her employment, for purposes of workers' compensation, continuously during the duration of the entire trip, except when there is a distinct departure on a personal errand. Thus, under the rule we adopt today, the injury or death of a traveling employee occurring while reasonably engaged in a reasonable recreational or social activity arises out of and in the course of the employment." This is the majority view among the states.
Citation McCann v. Hatchett, 19 S.W.3d 218 (Sup. Ct., Tenn., 2000)

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