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Judges: injuries from crash on public road not covered

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by the state worker’s compensation board that denied a security guard’s claim that a car accident on the way to work happened in the course of his employment and should be compensated.

Night security guard Earl Arnold in 2006 was driving from his home to his job at Rose Acre’s facility in Cortland. He was on County Road 800 North, which is a public road that intersects with a gravel road serving as the only entrance to Rose Acre’s facility. As Arnold started to make a left-hand turn onto the facility’s gravel road and crossed the center line, he was struck by a pick-up truck. The vehicles came to rest partially on the public road and partially in Rose Acre’s driveway. Arnold suffered several injuries.

He filed a claim for workers’ compensation on the grounds that the accident arose out of and in the course of his employment, but a single member denied his claim and the full board supported that conclusion.

In Earl Arnold, Sr. v. Rose Acre Farms, Inc., No. 93A02-1109-EX-874, the judges could not determine that the full board erred in concluding that the public road wasn’t part of the Rose Acre’s premises for purposes of state statute. Although Rose Acre technically owned the soil beneath the public road, the judges found that it had no control of the road’s use a public thoroughfare. The court rejected Arnold’s argument that his left-hand turn into Rose Acre distinguished his use of the public road from the use made by the public at large.

The court also declined to apply a ruling it made more than a decade ago in Clemans v. Wishard Mem’l Hosp., 727 N.E.2d 1084 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), which involved an employee traveling on a public road from one part of the employer’s premises to another part. That precedent does not stand for the proposition that an employee may be eligible for benefits from injuries occurring when traveling on a public road from the home to the employer’s sole piece of property, Judge Carr Darden wrote.

The court noted that Arnold failed to show the board erred in determining he wasn’t injured in the course of his employment with Rose Acre. Darden wrote in a footnote that the panel is making no determination as to whether Arnold’s injuries “arose out of” his employment.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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