For a Workplace Injury to be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, there are two components which must be satisfied. There is a term of art to describe these components. It is called “AOE/COE.”
AOE/COE stands for “Arising out of Employment”and in the “Course and Scope of Employment.” These two components must be part of all workers’ compensation injuries. Each one of these terms’ definitions have been litigated for many years. Further, with respect to the ever changing workplace, these components will likely be litigated for many years to come. Current trends in employment will expand what may be an industrial injury. This includes people who work from home. Also, it includes people who work at unconventional locations due to advent of sophisticated electronic devices and the internet. For example, an injury may be claimed while having coffee at a Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf if the person was working on work activities on their Laptop, TAB or Smart Phone. Also, a worker getting into a car accident while going home from work could be considered industrial. For example, if the worker handled phone calls on their hands free blue tooth phone while driving, this would raise industrial causation as a possibility.
“Arising out of Employment” has a strong medical component. An injured worker could have a seizure or a heart attack at the work location. The question becomes whether the conditions of employment had a causative element in bringing on the medical condition. Was there work-related stress at the time at work which precipitated the medical event? Also, someone who had cancer and believes that it was caused by work would need a physician to identify the chemicals or exposure at work which was responsible for the medical condition. Sometimes, doctors may have differing opinions on the causation issue. If this is the case, the matter may be tried before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board on that issue.
“Course and Scope of Employment” deals with more of the legal or factual analysis. Did the injury take place during the performance of work? What in fact is “performance of work” is quite expansive. For example, an injury in the employer controlled parking lot may be considered as in the course and scope of employment. Even making a dangerous left hand turn into an employer’s parking lot has been considered as work-related. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a skilled attorney concerning whether your fact pattern would be industrial. Many of these cases are tried before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
In sum, you need to fulfill both AOE and COE components to prevail in your case. Consultation with a skilled practitioner is strongly recommended.
Law Offices of Edward J. Singer
At the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, we specialize in helping our clients with their workers’ compensation claims. With more than 20 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, we are here to assist with any questions a person in Southern or Central California who receives workers’ compensation may have. We welcome anyone who needs assistance to contact us today concerning any workers’ comp questions or issues.