Watch Out for The Pigs!

fat pigWe are pretty wary of deer running onto the roads up around here but it’s not often that a 400 pound hog turns up on the freeway. Maybe things are different in the South, where a woman who was driving home from work struck a wild hog and was seriously injured.

Virginia Applequist worked for the Pearl River Resort as an executive host and then an “off-property director of player development”, and she was supposed to build the clientele of the casino. One of her new duties was to investigate some new bingo facilities that were popping up in Alabama that could be considered competition for the Pearl River Resort. She traveled a lot but worked from her home in Alabama so she did not really have set hours.

She was driving home with her sister from a bingo parlor in Alabama at 4 in the morning when they were caught in a rainstorm and struck a 400 pound wild pig that was in the road. Though she worked from home she said she was at the bingo parlor as part of her job and she was doing market research of a competitor. She said they had gone to three different locations and left “Bama Bingo” when they got in the accident and they were both in the hospital for several days. She continued to work from home as she could but when she was fired by the casino almost two years later she filed for workers’ comp benefits.

Her employer was suspicious that she was actually there for work since she had not submitted anything like marketing reports, itineraries or expense reports, it was 4 in the morning, her sister was with her, and she waited many months after the accident and after she was fired until she filed for benefits.

On the night of the accident she claimed that she wanted to bring her sister with her because she had lived in Alabama for a long-time so she knew the roads better and Applequist was a relatively new resident. She also said she wasn’t really familiar with how to submit a workers’ comp claim at the time. The employer conceded that they were feeling competition from these new bingo halls in Alabama. The workers’ comp commission decided that she was returning from a work-related trip and could receive benefits. The appellate court agreed that since “conducting market research of a competing gaming facility” was within her job description, there was sufficient evidence to uphold her benefits.

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