Where and when does work start for employees in Connecticut?

Connecticut grants workers' compensation for injuries arising out of employment and occurring in the course of employment. Generally, injuries may not be compensated when the injury occurs at the employee's residence or during acts while preparing for work, unless the employer specifically directed that the work accident victim perform these acts.

Compensable injuries, under certain circumstances, may take place on the way to work. This generally applies to accident victims, such as policemen and firemen, who are considered portal-to-portal employees and who are covered for injuries suffered from the time they leave their abode and arrive to work and from the time they leave work at the end of their shift and return to their abode.

However, injuries are not covered if they take place while the worker is at home. For example, a worker could not collect compensation for injuries suffered when he fell on ice in his driveway which was considered part of his abode.

A worker cannot significantly deviate from a work route because the injury must have taken place at a location where the worker may have been and while fulfilling employment duties or something incidental to these duties. Accordingly, a worker who drove to a medical supply house for a device could not receive compensation because her employer instructed her not to take this trip. She suffered an injury when she was hit by a car after stopping to buy a greeting card on her way to the supply house.

In April, the state Supreme Court affirmed workers' compensation benefits to a policeman who was injured in a car accident while on his way to work. He deviated slightly from his route to take his children to daycare. The accident occurred at a point before the location that the officer would have changed his route to go to the day care center. The Court ruled that driving his children to daycare was inconsequential to his job duties, which includes driving to work, and did not remove him from the course and scope of his employment.

Source: Connecticut Judiciary, "McMorris v. City of New Haven Police Department, AC 36328 (April 28, 2015)," Assessed May 10, 2015

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