What Exactly Does “Work-Related” Cover When it Comes to Injuries?
Sure, it’s pretty obvious that if you are hurt while doing a specific job duty at your place of employment, it is a work-related injury. It’s also just as clear that if you are hurt while tending to your garden at home, it is not a work-related injury. There is a large grey area of injuries that occur, however, that do not have a clear work or non-work delineation.
Fifty Shades of Grey Area: The Many Ways We’re Hurt At Work
It is not always clear whether your injury will qualify as a work-related injury, which would in turn qualify or disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it is incredibly important to be absolutely sure one way or another—but it isn’t always easy to tell where your injury falls on the spectrum. Here are some helpful examples:
- Your commute: If you are in a wreck on your way to the office, it will not be considered a work-related injury. Even if you slip and fall in the parking lot on your way into the building, you would have a difficult time proving that you were performing a job duty.
- Lunch breaks: If you fall and break your wrist while grabbing lunch at a nearby deli with your coworkers, you won’t be covered even though you are on your lunch break at work. This is because you are acting outside the scope of your employment.
- The travelling worker: Unlike your commute, if you are on a company business trip, injuries you sustain on that trip may be considered work-related.
- The telecommute: While you would think that it would be impossible to file a workers’ compensation claim if you work from home, telecommuters may have a legitimate claim—if they’ve done the legwork beforehand to strictly define a work area, duties, and hours.
- The company Christmas party: If you are at a company-sponsored event, it could be argued that it is within the scope of your job if you are hurt while participating. Just be careful with the egg nog!
If you are unsure if your injury would qualify as work-related, it can’t hurt to ask! Schedule a free consultation with workers’ compensation attorney Steve Lee today to discuss if you are eligible for workers’ compensation.