March 19, 2009

Worker willfully disregarded instructions and was injured; thus, his workers' comp. claim was denied

CIVIL CONSTRUCTORS, INC., ET AL. v. GEORGE HAYNES, III (Tenn. Workers’ Comp. Panel, March 19, 2009)

This workers’ compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Employee was injured on the job, when the dump truck he was driving overturned. Employer denied liability, asserting that the injuries were the direct result of willful misconduct by Employee. The trial court found in favor of Employer on that issue, and denied benefits. Employee has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding. We affirm the judgment.

Opinion may be found at the TBA website:

“Extending deference to the trial court’s implicit finding concerning Employee’s credibility, we conclude that the evidence in this record shows that Employee had an accident on June 5 as a result of driving his truck on the berm; that he was told thereafter by two of his supervisors not to drive his truck on the berm; that he was given the same instruction again on June 16, accompanied by a reference to endangering his job; that he was also warned by a co- worker on the same date that it was unsafe to drive the truck onto the berm; and that Employee disregarded those instructions and warnings, resulting in an accident which caused his injuries.” Id.