You Be the Judge: Is This Parking Lot Injury Compensable?

A Georgia appeals court is asked to decide if a worker's injury falls within the coming and going rule while she's off the clock.
By: | April 23, 2019

A seamstress for Bremen-Bowdon Investment Company parked in a lot owned by the employer. In order to get to and from the parking lot, she had to walk down a public sidewalk and cross the street.

On the date of the injury, the seamstress left her workstation for her regularly scheduled lunch break and planned to drive to her home. Bremen-Bowdon’s employees were allowed to leave the workplace and do whatever they wished during this regularly scheduled lunch break.


As she walked to her car, the seamstress tripped on the sidewalk and was injured. She sought workers’ compensation benefits, including temporary total disability benefits beginning the day after her injury, payment of medical bills, designation of a certain doctor as the authorized treating physician, and attorney’s fees.

The administrative law judge concluded that the seamstress was entitled to benefits under the ingress and egress rule as a scheduled lunch break. Bremen-Bowdon appealed.

The State Board of Workers’ Compensation reversed the ALJ’s award, concluding that the seamstress’s injury did not arise out of her employment because it occurred while she was on a regularly scheduled break.

Did the board properly deny benefits to the seamstress?

  • A. Yes. The ingress and egress rule does not apply when a worker is injured while leaving or returning to work for a regularly scheduled lunch break.
  • B. No. The injury occurred on Bremen-Bowdon’s premises.
  • C. No. The injury occurred while the claimant was on a break where she was free to do whatever she chose.

How the Court Ruled

B is incorrect. The fact that the seamstress was on Bremen-Bowdon’s premises when she was injured did not mean that she was automatically entitled to benefits.

C is incorrect. The court found that ingress and egress rule does not extend workers’ compensation coverage to cases in which the worker is injured while leaving and returning to work on a regularly scheduled lunch break.

A is correct. In Daniel v. Bremen-Bowdon Investment Co., No. A18A1764 (Ga. Ct. App. 02/26/19), the Georgia Court of Appeals held that the seamstress’s injury did not arise out of her employment.

The court explained that under the scheduled break exception, an exception to the workers’ compensation law exists for injuries occurring during a regularly scheduled lunch break and at a time the worker is free to do as she chooses.

Under the ingress and egress rule, the workers’ compensation law applies where a worker is injured while still on the employer’s premises in the act of going to or coming from her workplace.

However, while the seamstress’s case was pending, the court held in another case that the ingress and egress rule does not extend coverage to cases in which the worker is injured while leaving and returning to work on a regularly scheduled lunch break.

The court applied that case law and found that the seamstress’s trip and fall injury during a period of egress on a regularly scheduled lunch break was not compensable. &

Editor’s note: This feature is not intended as instructional material or to replace legal advice.

Christina Lumbreras is a Legal Editor for Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected]

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]