For the past forty years or so, an employee in Michigan has been entitled to workers compensation if he was injured while traveling on behalf of his employer. That ended definitively this year when the insurance-oriented majority of the Mighigan Supreme Court decided Bowman v. R.L. Coolsaet.
Mr. Bowman was working out of town and driving back to his hotel room when he was paralyzed in a motor vehicle accident. The lower courts held that since he was traveling for his employer and was not off on a personal lark when the wreck occurred, he should be entitled to workers compensation. The conservative majority rejected this analysis--which had been the law of our state for several decades--and held that Mr. Bowman was not entitled to workers compensation. This group of judges would pay him comp only if he was injured while directly engaged in the employer's business task, regardless of the fact that he was visiting another city solely for the employer's purposes.