Most states in the United States require all employers to have workers' compensation insurance to cover employees in the event of work-related injuries. What happens if a worker is injured in an accident that occurred at a place other than the workplace or workplace? In general, if the employee acted during his employment when the accident occurred, the incident will be covered by the workers' comp.
When are accidents work-related?
Was the employee on the clock?
If an employee of the company driving to visit a client on the watch was injured in a car accident on the road, that employee would probably have a claim for compensation for workers. On the other hand, a worker who was injured in a traffic accident while driving to the factory before the clock in the morning would not have a valid claim, as he or she did not perform tasks at the time of the accident. Commuting to or from work is not considered during the job.
The same principle would apply if an office worker slipped and fell on an ice rink on a city street while walking to a restaurant during his lunch hour. However, if she was injured when she returned to the office after running a case requested by her employer, her injuries are likely to be covered by the workers' comp. As a rule of thumb, if an employee is paid for what he or she does and is injured while performing these tasks, workers' compensation coverage applies.
Employers often sponsor company vacations, picnics, softball or volleyball games, and other team-building events. In some, but not all, an employee injury that occurs in such an event is considered work-related and is covered by the workers' comp. The accident can be covered if the event was sponsored by the company and employees were expected to participate.
Areas outside the main work
Workers may be injured after leaving or before arriving at the main place in areas under the control of their employer. These areas often include parking lots and walkways for which the employer is responsible. If the company owns or pays taxes in the area, or pays a third party to maintain it, the area is considered employer-controlled. An employee injured in such an area would probably have a claim for compensation for workers.
Exceptions to the rule
Although workers 'compensation rules vary from state to state, certain situations are usually not covered by workers' compensation insurance, even when they occur at work and in the workplace. These exceptions include injuries caused by drug or alcohol use. They also include occupational injuries caused by horse games or fighting.
The workers' comp rules are complex and not easy for the average person to understand. Our knowledgeable agent can help you gain a better understanding of workers' compensation coverage that you have access to, if you are an employee or for your workers, if you are an employer.