For example, an Alabama log truck driver was being transported back to his personal vehicle at a service station by a labor truck at the end of his shift. En route, the occupants of the labor truck spotted a diamond back rattle snake. One worker attempted to capture the deadly snake, but was bit on each hand in the process. Consequently, the worker was hospitalized for 40 days and had to undergo physical therapy. During this time he was unable to work.

The worker filed for workers' compensation benefits, but the company denied his benefits on the grounds that this accident and subsequent injury did not result from the course of the driver's employment. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals recently ruled that the driver in fact was not entitled to the benefits.

The court found that although the man was being transported through the course of his work, he chose to exit the truck and engage in an activity that was not expected through the course of his employment, therefore he was taking a personal risk for any resulting injury. Unfortunately for this worker, this means that his company will not cover his medical bills or missed wages.

It is not unusual for a company to dispute a workers' right to benefits in accidents where it remains unclear if the injury occurred through the course of employment. For this reason, it is often crucial for injured Alabama workers to consult with experienced legal counsel to ensure they receive their due workers' compensation benefits.

Source: Risk & Insurance, "Catching rattlesnake not part of foreman's duties," Sept. 27, 2012