Truck Driver Robbed During Trip Entitled to Workers Comp

September 21, 2007 ( - The Supreme Court of Tennessee Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel ruled that a truck driver who suffered a heart attack after being robbed was in the course of employment during the incident and deserves workers' compensation benefits.

Atlas Van Lines argued that a trial court erred in awarding the driver benefits because he was voluntarily engaged in black-market activity unrelated to work when the pickpocket incident occurred.Gerald Amos was robbed in 2001 by a stranger who knocked on his truck cab while he slept at a truck stop in Charlotte, North Carolina  offering to sell him cigarettes for $5 a carton. 

The appeals panel in Nashville found that “as a traveling employee, Amos was in the course of his employment when the incident which precipitated his heart attack occurred,” and remanded the case to the trial court to determine the correct amount his benefits should be reduced by Social Security benefits he is receiving.

The court document said Amos spent hours under questioning by police and trying to obtain emergency cash from Atlas after the robbery. The next day he was treated for a heart attack brought on by the stress of being robbed and the interrogation by authorities, the opinion stated.

The  trial court found the heart attack was compensable and that Amos was permanently and totally disabled. The court, however, declined to reduce the benefit awarded by a portion of the Social Security benefits Amos is receiving.

The full opinion in Gerald Amos vs. Atlas Van Lines Inc. is here .