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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

Ride for cancer in Langley will take place Sunday, despite COVID-19

Annual fundraiser will be ‘really different,’ but classic cars are expected, organizer promises

Multiple accidents slowing westbound Highway 1 traffic

3 accidents in Langley, Abbotsford within 30 minutes

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion to eastern Lower Mainland

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

Most Read