Workers' Compensation Claim Disallowed for Lack of Employer-Employee Relationship
Case Study

Workers' Compensation Claim Disallowed for Lack of Employer-Employee Relationship

October 31, 2018

What started on Route 31 had wended its way into Workers’ Compensation court. Goldberg Segalla partner Cory A. DeCrecenza was tapped to defend a major insurer and its insured, an Iowa-based trucking company, against a claim by a Liverpool, NY, man who had been in a motor-vehicle accident while driving a rental car arranged for him by the trucking company, his prospective employer. At issue was whether, at the time of the wreck, there was an employer-employee relationship between the claimant and the Iowa-based trucking company that had offered him a job contingent on his completing a training-and-orientation class in Des Moines.

The trucking company had instructed the man to drive to the training in Iowa in a rental car it had arranged for another prospective employee; he was to pick up the car at the Sylvan Beach, NY, home of a man who had just returned from Des Moines after he himself had attended the trucking company’s training class. But when the claimant was driving the rental car home from Sylvan Beach to get some sleep before setting out for Iowa, he had a wreck.

The claimant contends that, at the time of the accident, he was on his way to a tryout with the trucking company and engaged in a “special errand for the benefit of, and under the direction of, [the company].” Armed with case law, we argued that there was neither a special errand nor an employer-employee relationship.

The judge agreed with us, ruling that there was no employer-employee relationship and therefore no injuries in the course of employment, and disallowed. In so doing, the judge cited our case law in depth. The result highlighted the efficacy and value of Goldberg Segalla’s unique Workers’ Compensation practice model, as well as the superior industry-specific insight leveraged by our national Trucking practice.

The claimant has appealed this decision, and we will be filing a rebuttal to the same.