B.C. woman wins appeal, gets workers’ comp from crash during commute

She was driving an employer-owned vehicle when she crashed on Hwy 1 in Abbotsford on her way to work

A woman has been granted workers’ compensation for a single-vehicle crash while commuting to work in an employer-owned car, reversing a previous ruling from WorkSafeBC.

At the time of the crash, on Feb. 3, 2017, a security co-ordinator with an unnamed federal agency was driving the fleet vehicle – an unmarked police vehicle – on Highway 1 from her home in Vancouver to an office in Chilliwack, where she was to give a presentation.

While driving around 80 to 100 km/h through Abbotsford, at about 9:30 a.m., she lost control in the snow and her vehicle crashed into the median between eastbound and westbound lanes.

RELATED: WorkSafeBC report finds cause for penalty for B.C. car dealer after fatal accident

RELATED: Nurses deliver 24,000 anti-violence postcards to B.C. health minister

The woman, only referred to as “the appellant” in the recently published B.C. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) ruling, was denied compensation in the original WorkSafeBC ruling, as well as in a review that followed.

At issue in the appeal of the first two decisions was whether or not the commute was considered part of the “course of employment.”

To make a determination, the tribunal looked at nine factors, including whether the task was being done for the employer’s benefit, instructions from the employer, whether equipment was supplied by the employer and whether the commute was part of the job.

In this case, the employee had been granted permission to drive home from the Surrey office the previous day for the sake of efficiency, to better prepare for the Chilliwack presentation the day of the crash.

The agency had strict rules on using fleet vehicles, barring personal use such as groceries, a factor the tribunal member “placed great weight” on. As well, the tribunal noted that the woman was not allowed to keep the vehicle for the weekend, meaning that she had to drive the vehicle to work the day of the crash, despite snowy weather.

At the hearing, the woman showed the tribunal emails from a policy officer with her employer, who deemed that she was on “travel status” at the time of the crash.

The woman testified that her supervisor advised her in fall 2016 not to visit offices during inclement weather after she asked for snow tires for the police vehicle. No money was available at the time for snow tires, and the employer’s investigative report of the crash noted that, although snow tires would have been the safest option, the tires had “sufficient tread.”

As well, the employer noted that even vehicles with snow tires went off the road the day of the crash, and when the woman had left her home that morning it had been snowing but the roads were not affected.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Children’s drawings brighten up Chilliwack business

Student artwork chosen for exterior vinyl wrap at graphics company

New Chilliwack film fest showcases teen cinematography

The inaugural Chilliwack Student Film Festival is open to kids in Grades 9 to 12

GW Graham students earn top award at Kiwanis convention

Key Club members logged 1,800 volunteer hours helping kids locally and globally

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

Midway companies all booked during fair dates Chilliwack council hears

Fair Board explains to council why midway won’t be back in the ‘Wack any time soon

VIDEO: RCMP reveal five kids hit in deadly B.C. crash

The children range in age from six to 17.

RCMP looking for man who may have offered 12-year-old girl a ride home

Incident occurred March 11 near elementary school in Maple Ridge.

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

UPDATED: Three dead in Surrey crash: police

Single-vehicle crash occurred around 10:30 a.m., police remain on-scene

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Coroner’s inquest announced for Victoria teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home

Military officer accused of sexual misconduct, drunkenness in B.C., Alberta

Warrant Officer Jarvis Kevin Malone is charged under the National Defence Act

Harbour Air to convert to all-electric seaplanes

Seaplane company to modify fleet with a 750-horsepower electric motor

Most Read