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Is an employer-reimbursed hotel room considered "employer-provided living quarters" for the purpose of Worker's compensation?

Castro Valley, CA |

If the answer is yes, then the "bunkhouse rule" may apply to the death of my wife while out of town on business, who died while in a hotel room. If the answer is no, then please explain your reasoning as to why a room clearly meant as a place to sleep overnight is not a living quarters, like a "bunkhouse".

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

The answer for 'bunkhouse' may depend on whether this was an out of town 6 months assignment or an over-night trip. You might also want to look at the rules for commercial traveler. Depending on your answers, this could be a pretty complicated answer and require some extensive research (neither of which are going to happen at this web-site.

You may want to consult with a good WC attorney and there are some great ones in Alameda, Contra Costa county area. Find a good one here by using the "Find a Lawyer" tab at the top of this page or by going to www.caaa.org. CAAA is the association for attorneys here in CA who represent injured workers.

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Asker

Posted

She was on a several day trip attending a regular conference that her employer's client was having -- and she had traveled extensively for these sorts of things in the past 12 months (Singapore, Bucharest -- and many trips to Houston) -- always getting her hotel expenses reimbursed by her employer. She died at the end of a very long day as the result of an unattended and unwitnessed cerebral stroke -- and there is no exact time of death, since her body was not discovered until the following morning by hotel maid staff. Her case looks quite similar to that of "The Hartford et. al., v WCAB (Lopez) (2002) 67 Cal. Comp. Series 1622 -- where the maid (Maria) died of a heart attack and her family was awarded death benefits under the "bunkhouse rule". I am quite comfortable traveling some distance within the Bay Area for the right counsel.

Brett A. Borah

Brett A. Borah

Posted

Start your search for excellent WC lawyers by using the "Find a Lawyer" tab at the top of this page. Great lawyers in Oakland, Fremont, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, etc.

Posted

I recently concluded a case where my client's husband died in a motel room. You did not give us the cause of death. Dying on a business trip used to be cut and dried and generally found to be industrial, but not now. So please provide more information as to what caused your wife's death. My condolences for your loss.

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Posted

You seem to be doing a lot of research on the issue, which is good. However, I recommend that you find an experienced attorney. Issues like this can change drastically on the facts, and may likely require a trial and appeals. There are a number of issues her as to whether your wife was traveling, on a temporary assignment, etc.

I would recommend that you find a reputable attorney, who is willing to litigate these issues. Don't be shy to interview a couple of attorneys, and make sure you actually talk to the attorneys. Look on this site or at Caaa.org.

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Posted

In Montana, "wages" does not include reimbursement for travel lodging or meals, unless these payments are part of the worker's pay. For example, if a rancher includes a house for the worker to live in, then the actual value of the house would be added to hourly pay to increase the total wages paid to the worker.

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