Betty Bockelman, a US Airways flight attendant, had a slip and fall accident aboard an airport shuttle bus on January 23, 2015, and subsequently sought compensation for the injury from US Airways. Ms. Bockelman slid in a pool of water in the shuttle and fell, thereby crushing her left foot. This slip and fall accident happened at work, and therefore Bockelman sought compensation by filling out a workers’ compensation claim. The determination date for lawsuits is always unknown, which is why litigation funding can be key. After an investigation, a Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) granted Bockelman’s petition.
To perform her job, Bockelman drove to Philadelphia International Airport where she parked in the staff lot and then took a shuttle bus to the terminal. She would do the reverse after her shift ended then drive home. She needed to be on her feet and moving quickly for long periods of time in her work.
In such cases, employers tend to try to avoid liability. US Airways tried to deny any responsibility for Bockelman’s injuries, to no avail.
US Airways made three assertions. First, that Bockelman was injured on a bus shuttle that is not owned by the company, and that US Airways didn’t own the parking lot either. Second, that the incident happened after Betty’s shift, and was outside the scope of employment. Third, the airliner did not give any directive as to how employees get to work. The US Airways v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Bockelman) found all of these assertions invalid.
Kevin Brobson – one of the three Commonwealth Court Judges in the Appeal Board – noted that the airline was aware of how staff got to work and back to their vehicles. These shuttle buses were an essential part of US Airlines business, according to the workers’ compensation judge.
Next, the justices considered the crucial question: whether an employee is performing in the course and scope of employment while traveling between a parking lot and workplace.
In October 2018, the US Supreme Court heard an appeal of Bockelman’s case. Litigation funding can be vital to help such a litigant pursue justice when a case drags on as this one has. As reported in the Legal Intelligence, Bockelman’s attorney – Alfred J. Carlson III – is confident that the highest court of the land will rule in his client’s favor.
When a plaintiff is struggling to make ends meet during a case, litigation funding can be crucial to paying bills while awaiting compensation. Call 1(800) LAW-CASH or apply now to find out if LawCash litigation funding can help you.