The Ohio Supreme Court made a 5-2 decision against recognizing the doctrine of dual intent. The catalyst for this decision involved a nurse named Tamara Friebel who was paid to travel to and from the homes of patients on weekends. On the way to her first patient of the day, she decided to visit the mall with her children and her friends, when her car was rear-ended by another car.
Tamara applied for workers’ compensation for the injuries she received, as this was a pit stop on the way to her first patient. Unfortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against dual intent or dual purpose.
What Is the Dual Intent Doctrine for Workers?
Dual intent, while not recognized in Ohio, is recognized in some states. Dual intent is the argument that the worker is actively at work even if the traveling to work includes a personal errand.
For the fortunate employees who live in states with the dual intent doctrine, those workers may be compensated for injuries on a personal errand if the accident occurred while on the clock, such as traveling for work. Although, this is not the case for those traveling to work.
However, the Ohio court ruled that workers’ compensation applies only to injuries suffered in the course of work.
Perhaps, someday the courts will side with the workers of Ohio by allowing the doctrine to stand; unfortunately, the employers have the advantage in these cases for now. For Tamara Friebel, the case was sent back to a lower court to decide if her place of business is fixed or mobile. This court ruling could impact her individual case and similar future cases.
If you were injured at work or in a similar manner as Tamara Friebel, then we may be able to help you. Contact our firm to see what your options and rights are for your unique circumstance.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys