Workers’ compensation helps to provide financial assistance to workers who are injured while performing work duties. For many workers, this means they are covered by workers’ compensation protection at the office or at the construction site, but what happens if you are injured when you’re not on company property? Can you still collect workers’ compensation, or are you out of luck? In today’s blog, we explain how you can get workers’ compensation if you are injured when you’re not on company property.
Injured Outside The Office
Workers’ compensation is not dictated by where you are injured, rather it’s the when that counts. What we mean by this is that workers’ compensation protections do not end the moment you step off company property. Instead, workers’ compensation protections generally end the moment you step off the clock.
In other words, if you are performing work duties, you are likely protected by workers’ compensation for any injuries you suffer. If you’re picking up supplies for your boss at Home Depot or you’re grabbing lunch for the team at Chili’s and you end up getting in a car accident or suffering a slip and fall, odds are you’ll be able to collect workers’ compensation to help offset your medical expenses and wage loss. It doesn’t matter that you were outside of the office. What matters is that you were performing work duties at the time of the accident.
With that in mind, some examples of injuries that occur off company property that would be compensable include:
- Injuries suffered when traveling between job sites.
- Injuries suffered when asked or expected to perform tasks for the company.
- Injuries suffered on a work trip.
- Injuries suffered in a company parking lot.
- Injuries suffered at a company outing, retreat or holiday party.
We want to touch on a couple of things from the above list. For the second point, we note that injuries are only compensable when the tasks being performed were asked or expected of the employee. For example, if you decided to get pizza for the office on Friday and you left on a break to pick them up and got in an accident, you may not be covered because this action was not asked or expected of you. However, if your employer gave you a company credit card and asked you to get the pizzas for the team, then you would likely be able to collect compensation. Similarly, if you are expected to drop off the expense reports at the north side branch on the last Friday of the month and you are injured on your way over, you could collect compensation because you were performing expected work duties, even though you weren’t in the office.
Also, the commuting aspect can sometimes throw a wrench in your injury claim. Very rarely is a commute into the office or back home covered by workers’ compensation protections. You are not performing work duties during these commutes, and although this commute is only required because you are employed, it is not a protected action. However, if you are on the clock and traveling between job sites or to another office, this would be a protected time period. Travel between company locations or job sites is protected, but travel to and from your home and work generally is not eligible for workers’ compensation.
So if you are injured when you’re not on the company property, don’t think that makes you ineligible to receive benefits. If you were performing work actions, you’re covered, no matter whether you are 10 or 10,000 miles from the office. Don’t let your employer or their insurance company tell you otherwise.
For more information about the workers’ compensation process, or to talk to a lawyer about your options after an on-the-job accident, give Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm a call today.