Home > Uncategorized > Where to Park the Liability – on Parking Lots and Workers’ Comp (Part 2 of 3)

Where to Park the Liability – on Parking Lots and Workers’ Comp (Part 2 of 3)

There I sat, dear readers, with my brother-in-law Jasper looking at the blue-print of the wheel-barrel factory parking lot he was considering buying, and imagining all the obstacles he could place between the street and the factory employee entrance with which to test his employees.

So, as I side-stepped the issue of intentionally exposing workers to snake-pits, quick-sand, and land-mines, I gently pointed out that he might still be liable for injuries sustained in his parking lot because of the “special risk” doctrine, which makes injuries sustained during travel to work compensable if the employee is exposed to a risk of injury, for the benefit of the employer, to which the general public is not exposed.

For example, the applicant in the case of Sandra Parks v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, was attacked two car-lengths down the street from the employer-provided parking lot, as she was boxed in by school children crossing the street and other cars behind her.  In finding the injury compensable, the Court of Appeal reasoned that the car’s immobility caused by school children crossing the street was a special risk, and thus compensable.

Similar results were reached in R. G. Greydanus v. Industrial Accident Commission and John Freire v. Matson Navigation Company.  In Greydanus, a dairy employee who had to turn left across a busy road to pull into the dairy farm was found to be exposed to a special risk because of the dangerous turn.

Likewise, in Freire, a janitor who worked aboard a steamship could only reach the ship by walking across a public bulkhead.  The walk across the bulkhead was found to be a special risk, and the injury, though sustained some distance away from the ship itself, was found compensable.

Jasper looked deeply saddened as his eyes became watery and he glanced down at his blue-print.  Where, before, the set of American-Gladiator was re-born in his parking lot, now remained only painted lines between which employees could park their cars before proceeding to work.

Frustrated, Jasper shoved his blue-print aside and decided he wouldn’t have a parking lot at all.  As he angrily stared out the window, no-doubt jealously glaring at the restaurant’s parking lot, your humble blogger felt compelled to give some good news.

What could I tell Jasper to cheer him up?

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