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FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY et al. v. CORAM.
36616.
Workmen's compensation. Before Judge Lilly. Thomas Superior Court. December 5, 1956.
FELTON, C.
Where the claimant was injured in proceeding from her immediate work area on the employer's premises to another part of the employer's premises where she was furnished parking facilities by the employer, a finding that the accident arose out of and in the course of employment was authorized.
Mrs. Anna Belle Coram filed a claim for workmen's compensation against her employer, John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital, and its carrier, Federal Insurance Company, for injuries received in an accident which occurred on May 7, 1956. The claim was submitted to a single director on stipulated facts. The single director found for the claimant and awarded compensation. On appeal to the full board, this award was affirmed. The superior court on appeal affirmed the full board's award, and the defendants except.
The facts as stipulated are as follows: "1. It is stipulated and agreed that on May 6, 1956, the employee, Mrs. Anna Belle Coram, was employed by the employer, John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital, as a nurse's aide at a salary of $34 per week. It is further stipulated that the employee reported to work at 3 p. m. on May 6, 1956, and worked in the discharge of her usual duties from that time until approximately six minutes until 11 p. m. on the night of May 6, 1956. 2. At approximately six minutes until 11 p. m. on said date the employee reported to her supervisor, Miss Joan Halvorson, that she had completed her work for the day, and the employee was advised by Miss Joan Halvorson that she was free to leave the job. 3. The employee immediately left the third floor of the employer's premises, to which she was assigned, en route to her home. 4. In leaving her employment the employee went through the colored ward of the hospital and out the side door. She was walking down a gravel walk leading from the hospital to a parking lot located on the hospital premises, that is, the premises of the employer, to get her car and go home. 5. The employee decided to leave the gravel walk and cut across the hospital grounds to reach her car on the parking lot. At said time and place there was a border on the side of the gravel walk composed of logs approximately eight to ten inches in diameter lying lengthwise along each side of the walk. 6. The employee stepped over the log border and as her foot touched the grass on the other side of the border it slipped out from under her and she fell, breaking her left leg. 7. It is stipulated and agreed that the parking lot in which the employee's car was parked was on the premises of the employer, was furnished by the employer for the convenience of its patients, visitors and employees. 8. It is stipulated and agreed that the employee had the right and privilege of parking her car in said parking lot, but she was not required to do so. 9. It is further stipulated that the employer did not furnish to the employee the means of transportation used by her in going to and from her work, and that such transportation was not furnished by the employer as an incident to or as a part of the contract of employment. 10. It is stipulated and agreed that at the time of the accident the employee had completed her duties for the day, had been released by her supervisor, and was still on the premises of the employer en route to her car, which was parked in a lot on the employer's premises, over a route chosen by the employee."
J. The finding that the accident arose out of and in the course of employment was authorized. The parking facilities were furnished by the employer for the use of the claimant employee and were furnished as an incident of employment. Where an employer furnishes an employee parking facilities on the employer's premises, it is, of course, necessary for the employee, before he can commence his actual employment duties, to park his automobile and walk from that portion of the employer's premises to that other portion of the premises where he performs his actual employment duties. We think this situation is analogous to one where the employee first reports to one part of the employer's premises for instructions, assignment, clock punching, drawing tools, etc. and then must proceed to another portion of the premises to begin his actual duties. See Employers Ins. Co. of Alabama v. Bass, 81 Ga. App. 306 (58 S. E. 2d 516). The "rest period" and "lunch hour" cases are not applicable here. The reasoning behind such cases is that during a rest period or lunch hour, an employee is spending such time for his personal benefit and pleasure. In the instant case it cannot be said that in proceeding from that portion of the premises where she parked, to her immediate work area and in returning therefrom, the claimant was on a purely personal mission. We think that going to and from the parking lot in order to reach and leave her immediate working area was a necessary incident to the claimant's employment. See Travelers Ins. Co. v. Smith, 91 Ga. App. 305 (85 S. E. 2d 484). We are well aware of the cases which hold that while an employee is traveling to and from the employer's premises in transportation furnished solely by the employee and over a route chosen solely by the employee, he is not in the course of his employment and an accident occurring during such time is not a compensable one. However, those cases are clearly not applicable here because the claimant here had not yet departed from the employer's premises and started traveling a route of her choosing wholly disconnected with her employment. While this particular set of facts presents a case of first impression in this State, we think the question of law involved has been well established and followed in most jurisdictions. See 58 Am. Jur. 726, Workmen's Compensation, 221; 49 A.L.R. 425; 82 A.L.R. 1043. For two "parking lot" cases, see Murphy v. Miettinen, 317 Mass. 633 (59 N. E. 2d 252) and Rogers's Case, 318 Mass. 308 (61 N.E. 2d 341).
The majority opinion in Gay v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 72 Ga. App. 122 (33 S. E. 2d 109) is disapproved and the dissent in that case is approved as being the law in this State.
The fact that the claimant left the walk and "cut across" the hospital grounds to reach the parking area or the fact that she may have been negligent, does not prevent the accident from being one arising out of and in the course of her employment.
The court did not err in affirming the award.
Judgment affirmed. Quillian and Nichols, JJ., concur.
B. B. Earle, Jr., contra.
Forester & Calhoun, Marcus B. Calhoun, for plaintiffs in error.
DECIDED APRIL 8, 1957 -- REHEARING DENIED APRIL 25, 1957.
Saturday May 23 01:45 EDT


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