Administrative Assistant Recovers For Injury Sustained On Sidewalk While Making Delivery For Employer

Ruling: A Commission majority awarded benefits to an administrative assistant who fell on a sidewalk while delivering documents for her employer. Evidence indicated that the claimant was in a rush and carrying a package and that the sidewalk was part of a sloping exit from a parking garage.

What it means: An employee who must traverse a sloping sidewalk/driveway on her regular delivery route is exposed to a greater risk of falling than the general public.

Summary: The claimant, an administrative assistant, was delivering documents for her employer when she slipped on a sidewalk. She described the sidewalk as sloped and part of a parking lot exit. The arbitrator awarded benefits, noting that the accident occurred in the winter and that the claimant was in a rush. The arbitrator further noted that although the area of the accident was part of the sidewalk, it was also a driveway through which vehicles exit a parking lot. The lot was slanted to allow the vehicles to merge with the street level traffic. The arbitrator found that a person rushing past this incline could easily slip and fall, especially in the winter. The arbitrator also found significant that the claimant was carrying a package. The claimant was at a greater risk than the general public because the sidewalk was not clearly delineated as a driveway, was on an incline, was slippery, and was in an area where the claimant would make most of legal document deliveries. Upon review, a Commission majority affirmed and adopted the decision of the arbitrator.

As part of the claimant’s duties, she had to occasionally deliver materials to individuals requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act. Some of these deliveries, as in the instant case, are of an urgent nature in order to satisfy the timeliness established by statute. Therefore, the claimant had to hurry to make these rush deliveries.