A California water park employee was injured while using a water slide before clocking in and while the park was closed to the public. The injured employee first applied for workers’ compensation benefits and was turned down. Now an appeals court has ruled that the man was acting outside the scope of his employment and was entitled to bring legal action rather than being limited to workers’ compensation, according to Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

The employee, 23 years old at the time of the late May 1999 accident, was a “pool tech” at the Lake Dolores water park in Newberry Springs and normally worked from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. But on the day of the accident, there was a jet ski competition at the park, so he was assigned to leave at noon and return at 6 p.m. to clean up after the competition.

The employee testified that he returned about 5:45 p.m., helped another employee take down a flag, then asked his fellow worker to turn on the Doo Wop Super Drop. He said he did so because he liked the slide, the temperature was high, and the slide was always crowded during park hours.

Park officials testified that the victim violated park policy, which allowed employees to use the slides only if they were off duty, and only during hours that the park was open to the public. The employee who turned the slide on during non-business hours was also violating policy and was disciplined, they said.

The court reinstated a $4.4 million judgment in favor of the employee, who was rendered a paraplegic after he crashed into a dam at the end of the slide.