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Workers’ Compensation Claim And Work Study Student Employees


College is no longer just for rich kids spending daddy’s money without a care in the world.  Even before the pandemic hit, most university students held some kind of paid employment, and an equally large number have received financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships from the government or from individual schools.  Many universities offer work study employment as part of a financial aid package for students.  With work study jobs, students typically spend ten to twenty hours per week at paid jobs on campus, such as working at the campus bookstore or fitness center or at the security desks in student housing buildings.  If you get injured in the context of your work study job, you might have the option of filing a workers’ compensation claim.  It is a good idea to consult a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your legal options.

When Work Study Students Collide

Joyanne was a student at a private Christian university in Florida.  She had a work study job at a bookstore that operated on campus and was an affiliate of the university.  The terms of the Special Hourly Work Contract she signed with the university in 2004 stated that she was responsible for working at any job to which the university assigned her, and that possible assignments could include working for the university itself or for one of its affiliates.

On the day of the accident in 2006, Joyanne rode her bicycle from the bookstore where she worked to the dining hall during her lunch break.  At the end of her break, she was riding her bike back to the bookstore to return to work when a university van struck her bike.  The driver of the van was a work study student named Robert.  After the accident, a risk manager for the university submitted a workers’ compensation claim on Joyanne’s behalf.  He reasoned that the university’s workers’ compensation insurance policy covered all employees of the university and its affiliates.  He claimed that, even though Joyanne was not at the bookstore at the time of the accident, her injuries were compensable under workers’ compensation because she was traveling to the work site during her break from work.

In 2009, Joyanne attempted to file a personal injury lawsuit against the university, also naming Robert as a defendant.  The defendants claimed workers’ compensation immunity.  The trial court ruled that workers’ compensation did not apply and that Joyanne still had the right to sue Robert, as the driver who caused the accident and the university, as the owner of the van, for negligence.  The university appealed the decision, and the appeals court instructed the trial court to enter a summary judgment in favor of the university.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you get injured at your on-campus work study job, do not let an employee pressure you into filing a workers’ compensation claim without first giving you a chance to discuss matters with your own Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer.  Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for more information.


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