A gas station clerk who was shot and seriously injured while in his personal vehicle outside the store will be allowed to collect workers’ compensation for his injuries. That’s according to a ruling from the state’s Commonwealth Court, which held the injuries inflicted by violence were work-related, even though he was preparing to leave for the night, and he wasn’t technically on site.
The justices looked carefully at evidence tending to indicate the shooting was retribution by the family members of a woman who had been arrested for shoplifting.
According to PennLive.com, the plaintiff was shot soon after he was threatened by the woman’s relatives.
The worker was initially awarded benefits by both a single workers’ compensation judge and the workers’ compensation appeal board in that state.
The clerk’s employer had sought to deny the claim on the ground that when the shooting occurred, the store was already closed, and the clerk was sitting outside the store in his vehicle, which was parked on a public curb off store property.
More likely than not, however, the employer’s denial of the claim had to do with the fact he didn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, as required by law. Instead, the defendant paid the plaintiff “under the table” every two weeks – $1,200 every two weeks for working 10-hour shifts, six days each week.
Workers who are paid under the table and are subsequently injured need to seek immediate legal advice. If you work at the direction and control of your employer, you may well still qualify for benefits. If your employer has not secured workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, you may be entitled to sue your employer – but only if you can prove negligence. Otherwise, you’ll need to hold your employer directly accountable for benefits.
Although this plaintiff was able to obtain funds from Pennsylvania’s uninsured employer’s fund, North Carolina has no such fund. South Carolina, however, does have an uninsured employer fund.
Either way, plaintiffs first have to show they are entitled to benefits. This means they must show the injuries occurred in the course and scope of employment. This case presented some challenges in that regard because the plaintiff was not actively working, nor was he even on his employer’s property.
However, the plaintiff was able to connect the violence he suffered with threats of violence he had received earlier. The store reportedly had a major shoplifting problem, the court noted, and was equipped with 16 different cameras.
On the night in question, the plaintiff was in his vehicle with a co-worker when two masked individuals – who have never been identified – stood in front of their vehicle and fired repeatedly. The plaintiff awoke from a coma five days later. His injuries, he would later allege, left him permanently disabled.
The defendant argued that it had never been proven the assailants were relatives of a shoplifter, and the shooting was possibly connected to the plaintiff’s marital problems. However, the commonwealth court rejected that argument.
Despite the fact that the shooting happened on a public street, it was still considered work-related because that portion of the street was deemed part of the employer’s property because the store had no parking lot, and the only access to the business was from the street where the plaintiff’s car was parked.
Contact the Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Clerk shot outside convenience store can get workers compensation for injuries, Pa. court rules, Jan. 31, 2017, By Matt Miller, PennLive.com
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Workers’ Compensation Exclusive Remedy Only Applies to Statutory Employer, Feb. 8, 2017, Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog