Louisiana: Mileage Payment Does Not Bring EMT’s Travel Within the Employment; Going and Coming Rule Bars Claim

In Potier v. Acadian Ambulance Serv., Inc., 2014 La. App. LEXIS 347 (February 12, 2014), a Louisiana appellate court recently affirmed a decision by a state workers’ compensation judge that granted an employer summary judgment, on the basis of the going and coming rule, in a claim filed by a medic who sustained injuries in a vehicular accident as he returned to his home following a work shift. The medic contended that in addition to his ordinary wages, the employer paid him a sum calculated on the distance between his substation and home, that since the employer reimbursed him for his mileage, it “interested itself in his transportation, and the going and coming rule did not apply. 

The employer countered that it did not provide the medic with transportation; its mileage payments to him were not based upon his actual travel expenses. Nor did the employer pay the medic for his time traveling to and from his assigned substation. The employer contended in relevant part that the mileage it paid to swing medics, such as the injured medic, was done for the purpose of attracting qualified personnel to work in areas where there are an insufficient number of EMTs to staff the employer’s ambulances. The appellate court agreed with the WCJ and the employer. The mileage payments bore “no relation to the actual travel expenses.” Rather, the facts indicated that the mileage payments were an inducement used by the employer to attract qualified EMTs to work as swing medics. The going and coming rule barred recovery.

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