Bobby was working for a paving crew and, while awaiting another delivery of a truck load of asphalt, one of his co-workers found a bowling ball next to the parking lot where they were working. One of the co-workers challenged Bobby to see if he could break the bowling ball with a sledge hammer. Bobby’s foreman, Jeff, told Bobby in no uncertain terms to knock it off and don’t mess around with the bowling ball. Despite this, Bobby went ahead and struck the ball causing a piece of the bowling ball to break off and strike him in the eye. Bobby suffered a severe laceration in his eye which eventually resulted in the loss of the eye.
ISSUE: Is Bobby entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
ANSWER: No. Normally horseplay on a job site would not prevent somebody from collecting Workers’ Compensation if they are injured. In this case, Bobby was in violation of a positive order that the employer gave him and Bobby was well aware of that order and disobeyed it. Finally, the attempt to shatter the bowling ball had nothing to do with the work that Bobby was doing. Unfortunately for Bobby, he will be responsible for the medical bills and will have suffered a lifetime injury because of his disobedience.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.