Fall on black ice walking to work...

by Derrick
(Forest Park, Ohio)

A worker parked at an adjacent parking lot because it has provided closer access to the front entrance to the building. We have in times past secured permission for a certain number of workers to use these parking spaces. However, during winter a worker stepped over a mound of ice and snow that bordered the two parking lots, and slipped on black ice that he did not see.

The consequence is that he injured his neck. He went to the City's physician's office and was sent home for 4 days. His work day had not yet started at the time he fell. He fell at 6:50 AM on the way to the office. His work day started at 7:00 AM. He was not yet on the clock. Is this a job related injury, or is this a liability injury?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fall on black ice walking to work...":

Derrick (Forest Park, Ohio):

From the set of facts you present this appears to be a legitimate workers' compensation claim. Because the employer secured permission for its workers to park there, the law presumes the employer had total or partial control of the lot. Under that legal presumption, the employer has a legal duty to use all reasonable efforts to keep that parking area safe for its workers.

While the employer may argue maintenance of the parking lot was not under its purview, the employer still had a duty to make sure the owner of the parking lot made the lot safe for its workers.

Finally, the law normally presumes once a worker is on his employer’s premise, or an area under the employer’s control, and that worker is walking from that parking lot directly to his job, that the walk is considered part of the worker’s workday, even if the “official” work day hadn’t begun.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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