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

VIDEO: Inaugural township-wide garage sale rated a success

‘It went extremely well,’ said veteran garage sale participant

Taekwondo Festival draws hundreds to Langley Events Centre

Annual event a showcase of Korean martial art skills, culture and music

VIDEO: Bowen Byram named top prospect

Giants defenceman recognized as premier NHL draft pick

Langley golfer James Allenby takes Canada Life Open lead

Shot career-low round at Point Grey Golf & Country Club

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

Most Read