Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez Welcomes the First Participants in Their Newly Established ATB Legal Institute

Earlier this month, Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez (ATB Law) announced the formation of the ATB Legal Institute, a 12-week program in which recent law school graduates will work closely with ATB Law attorneys while receiving classroom instruction. The ATB Legal Institute was created to provide new attorneys with a valuable start to their legal careers by serving as a bridge between their law school education and their entry into the workers’ compensation defense field. Additionally, the ATB Legal Institute will identify selected, promising new attorneys for consideration for careers with Adelson, Testan,

The ATB Legal Institute Provides Abundant Benefits for New Attorneys

According to Kathleen L. Brundo, co-managing partner of Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez and leader of the ATB Legal Institute, “the practice of workers’ compensation defense law requires a unique combination of legal knowledge, communication and people skills, enthusiasm and insight that generally takes years to develop.” Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez hopes to advance the development of these skills for recent graduates recruited to the program. The benefits to those recruited to the program include:

  • A salary for the 12-week program
  • Hands on legal experience
  • Mentorship by an individual ATB partner
  • Participation in classes held by ATB partners and senior attorneys

At present, participants will be recruited from California law schools, including Pepperdine, Loyola, and Southwestern, where Ms. Brundo is an alumnus. As Southwestern Law School’s Dean Austin Parrish said of the program, “The ATB Legal Institute serves as a wonderful and innovative model program for helping promising new law graduates transition into specialty areas of the law.”

Adelson, Brundo, Testan & Jimenez Continues to Be a Thought Leader with the ATB Legal Institute

Since its founding in 1996, Adelson, Brundo, Testan & Jimenez has prided itself in bringing innovation to the practice of defending workers’ compensation claims. Whether through community outreach, its continuing education library for attorneys and clients, or its ongoing seminar and event series, Adelson, Brundo, Testan & Jimenez is committed to staying actively involved in the communities they serve. The ATB Legal Institute is the most recent example of how Adelson, Brundo, Testan & Jimenez is seeking to make a difference and give back to the community.

The inaugural class of the ATB Legal Institute will shortly welcome four recent graduates to twelve weeks working with and learning from the partners and attorneys of Adelson, Brundo, Testan & Jimenez. We look forward to meeting these promising individuals, and many future classes of participants through the ATB Legal Institute. For more information, please contact Ms. Brundo at




The Coming and Going Rule: An Employer’s Responsibility for Traveling Employees

by Zarina Ajwani, Associate Attorney with Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez

Employers often ask if they are responsible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if their employees injure themselves on the way to work.

Usually (and thankfully), an employer is not liable for providing workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during one’s daily commute. This is known as the “coming and going” rule. However, like most things with law, there are exceptions. The rule is not as simple as many people perceive it to be.

Knowledge is Power, and businesses have to be aware of the various exceptions to the coming and going rule. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Adelson, Testan,Brundo & Jimenez (ATB Law) work with employers to ensure that businesses are aware of these exceptions and can take action to protect themselves from potentially being liable for employee injuries while traveling.

The exceptions to the “coming and going” rule usually consider whether the travel of the employee was somehow a benefit to the employer and if it was closely related to the employee’s job duties. While there are many exceptions to the “coming and going” rule, they generally fall into four general categories:

  • The employee has no fixed place of employment and travels to multiple job sites
  • The employee injures himself while traveling to a location away from his normal job site
  • The employee is on a special assignment for the employer; and
  • Travel is a significant part of the employee’s job duties.

Category 1- Traveling to Multiple Job Sites

If a worker has to use his personal vehicle to travel to multiple job sites in one day and gets injured en route to one of these job sites, are the injuries compensable?

The 1972 decision in the case of Hinojosa v. WCAB allowed an injured farm worker to be entitled to workers’ compensation from his employer. The employee in that case used his own vehicle while traveling to various farms and jobsites. The court’s reasoning concluded that the employee’s injury is covered by Workers’ Compensation because having his personal vehicle at work is an “implied condition of employment.” This exception would apply when an employee travels to multiple work sites and does not have one specific, fixed location of employment.

Category 2- “Commercial Traveler” Rule

Another exception to the “coming and going” rule applies when an employee is away on a business trip. The general rule is that an employee is considered to be acting in the scope of his or her employment the whole time while away on business.

In the court case of IBM Corp. v. WCAB, an employee usually worked at one job site but had to travel out of state for a special business trip. His employer encouraged and gave him permission to visit out of state relatives while he was there. He had to work Monday through Friday but made a 60 mile trip to visit his relatives over the weekend. He was killed in an automobile accident when his cousin was driving him back to his hotel. The court concluded that the 60-mile trip by the employee was a normal incident of his travel in connection with his out of town temporary work assignment. The “commercial traveler” rule suggests that an employer is responsible for injuries sustained by an employee while traveling for work, even if they seem unrelated to the employee’s job duties.

Category 3- “Special Mission” Rule

Although an employer is customarily not liable for injuries sustained by an employee en route to work, an injury is compensable if during his regular commute- the employee also is performing a special errand or “mission” for his employer. Employers should think twice before asking an employee to perform a special task for them before coming into work.

The employee’s conduct is “special” if it is “extraordinary in relation to routine duties, not outside the scope of employment.” (Schreifer v. Industrial Acc. Com. (1964) 61 Cl. 2d 289). For example, in the Schreifer case, the employee was a sheriff and was scheduled to begin work at 7 p.m. on a particular day. At 1 p.m. of that day his supervisor called him at his home and instructed him to report for duty “as soon as possible.” The employee left for work in his own vehicle and was involved in a car accident.

The court reasoned that because the employee was on a special mission at the time of the accident, the employer was liable for Worker’s Compensation benefits. Coming in hours early than he normally was required to report was a “special service” to his employer.

Category 4- Traveling is part an employee’s primary job duty

When an employer requires its employee to travel in order to accomplish their job duties, the “coming and going” rule does not apply. Remember, the big question is whether an employee’s injuries occurred while they were performing their normal job duties. See Labor Code Section 3600 (a) (2) which states an injury is compensable “where at the time of the injury, the employee is performing service growing out of and incidental to his or her employment and is acting within the course of his or her employment.”

If an employee is a pilot, bus driver, delivery truck driver, etc. their travel is well within the scope of the employee’s course of employment. For example, in Huntsinger v. Glass Containers Corporation, the employer was liable for injuries of a traveling repairman who had extensive use of a truck while visiting customers in the field. Their travel is for the sole benefit of the employer and they wouldn’t be able to do their job without driving or traveling.

It’s important to point out that a careless employee driver won’t absolve an employer from having to provide workers’ compensation benefits. In Westbooks v. WCAB, a bus driver who sustained injury as a result of nearly hitting an oncoming vehicle while recklessly driving his bus but was still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As mentioned in our previous blog post, drivers distracted by their smart phones can cost their employers thousands of dollars in Workers’ Compensation litigation.


While injuries of employees during travel to and from work are normally not covered by workers’ compensation, there are exceptions. An employer may be responsible to provide their employee with compensation benefits during travel, if the travel was related to and for the benefit of the employer. Of course, each case is fact specific but the attorneys at Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez are experienced with working with employers to inform them about limiting the risk of being liable for employee accidents while traveling.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this Blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. An attorney/client relationship is not formed by reading this article. The content of this Website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements.










Tips to Avoid Costly Employers’ Liability for Distracted Driving

Every year, distracted driving injures or kills hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. Activities such as eating, checking maps, and talking or texting on cell phones while driving are dangerous for any driver, but, for those driving commercial vehicles, the risk of doing harm to someone else while distracted increases tremendously.

The size, weight, and longer stopping distance of commercial vehicles mean that only a second of driver distraction can result in a life changing accident for the driver and those sharing the road. Unfortunately, not all commercial drivers have gotten the message, but the Workers’ Compensation attorneys of Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez are working to change that.

The Distraction Is Worse Than Many Assume

In today’s world, multitasking is accepted as a way of life. In any environment, multitasking necessarily reduces an individual’s focus on any one task which, in turn,  increases the chances of errors.  Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation confirm:

  • In 2010, 18% of all crashes involving an injury involved reported distraction.
  • Those using hand held devices such as cell phones and audio players while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash that causes injury.
  • The risk of a crash increases by 23 times over focused driving when the driver is text messaging.

Clearly, no matter how accustomed one is to multitasking, it is not possible to drive safely while distracted.

Employers of Commercial Drivers Must be Diligent

In many cases, the regulation of commercial driver behavior is stricter than that of other drivers. For example, commercial drivers using handheld cell phones can face fines of up to $3,000 and lose their commercial driver’s license and fines to the employer can be as much as $11,000 per incident. Nevertheless, crashes involving distracted commercial drivers are frequent. Employers of commercial drivers must be aware of employee behavior while employees are behind the wheel of company vehicles, since employers can be held liable for an employee’s distracted driving. The consequences of not so doing can be severe:

  • Employers can be held responsible for paying worker’s compensation for workers injured due to distracted driving, which might not be insurable.
  • Negligence per se can be established against the employer of a distracted driver, leading to punitive damages.
  • Employers found grossly negligent may face additional fines, costs, and license revocations arising from a distracted driving incident.

ATB: Working to Solve the Problem

The Law Offices of Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez takes distracted driving seriously. As experienced workers’ compensation defense attorneys, we work with employers to protect their businesses against exposure to distracted driving by employees and the costs associated with workers’ compensation litigation. Employers can take steps to mitigate the business risks of employee distracted driving, including updating company policies and manuals to include unambiguous language concerning the use of electronic devices while driving, using technology to monitor and control employee driving habits, and communicating regularly with employees about expectations for vehicle use. These steps can not only help shield transportation businesses in a workers’ compensation defense case, but reduce the chances of an incident proactively.