A “Sweet” Workers’ Compensation Case

A claimant injured her left arm, right knee, and right elbow when she tripped over a pole inside the food marketplace where she worked.  The injury occurred approximately 35 minutes before her shift was scheduled to start.  The claimant had purchased candy to distribute to children passing through her check-out queue and she tripped and fell as she was holding the candy up to show a coworker.

During the Workers’ Compensation hearing, the store manager testified the following:  the store did not have a policy against arriving early, the claimant was not loitering at the time of injury and there was no formal policy against giving candy to children at checkout.  The manager also testified that he knew of the claimant’s regular distribution of candy and had not taken any formal action to prevent it.

Despite occurring prior to her work-shift, the claimant was however in a place the employer permitted her to be.   Since the employer benefited from the claimant’s purchasing and distributing of candy,  the candy purchase was not a purely personal activity and the claimant’s injury was thus compensable.  In conclusion, the claimant’s injury arose out of and in the course of her employment.

The claimant contacted FOA because the insurance company controverted the case and refused to pay benefits.  FOA successfully litigated the case and secured financial compensation and health benefits for the claimant.


Submitted by Stephen Heath, Esq.