Kentucky Driver Who Keeps Tractor-Trailer Rig at Home is Traveling Employee

Where a long-haul truck driver kept one of his employer’s tractor-trailer units at his home because he lived near an interstate highway and the employer’s facility was one hour away and off the driver’s usual route from Frankfurt, Kentucky, to Ada, Oklahoma, the driver was a “traveling employee,” for purposes of workers’ compensation law, and his action in keeping the rig at his home was a “service to the employer.” Accordingly, where the driver sustained serious physical injuries in an accident as he drove home, rather than complete his driving assignment—he had become ill—his claim was not barred by the ordinary going and coming rule [First Class Servs. v. Hensley, 2017 Ky. App. LEXIS 621 (Oct. 13, 2017); see Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 14.01].

Going Home Because of Illness Was No Deviation

Citing Gaines Gentry Thoroughbreds/Fayette Farms v. Mandujano, 366 S.W.3d 456 (Ky. 2012), the court indicated that a mere deviation from one’s usual employment due to an illness would not negate the fact the claimant was still working until he returned home. Because the ALJ determined the claimant kept his truck at his home, began and ended his routes at his home, and was merely in the process of returning from his route, as a matter of law the claimant was a traveling employee at the time of the accident.

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