Injured employees have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim as long as they can show their injury is related to their work. But what exactly does work related mean? Courts have ruled that an injury must “arise out of employment” and occur “in the course of employment.” We must consider each of these points separately.
The clearest examples of injury arising out of employment are those directly related to a job activity. But for his job as a roofer, the man would not have fallen from the scaffold. If you are hurt while assuming a risk you would not have engaged in if you were not employed, the injury arises out of employment. If you get hurt doing something you would have done anyway, it’s probably not work related.
Another factor the courts look at is whether the activity conferred a benefit to your employer. This does not only include tasks that produce products or deliver services. If you take your lunch at a company commissary, the court could find a benefit to your employer in that activity. You remain on-site; therefore you are not likely to be tardy returning to your work station. So, a slip-and-fall injury in the company cafeteria could be considered work related, even though you are off the clock.
The question of whether your injury occurred in the course of employment involves a number of issues. For example, employees are covered, but contractors are not. But even if the employer calls you a contractor, you might qualify as an employee if the employer tightly supervises your work and you work exclusively for that company.
Disputes often arise when an employee is injured off-site while traveling to or from work. Commuter injuries are generally not covered, but employees who travel as part of their job description, such as traveling salespersons, are covered. However, a salesperson who makes a significant detour on a personal errand may not be covered for an auto accident, but a commuter who makes a stop to pick something up for the office might well be covered.
If you’re wondering whether your injury qualifies as work related, you should talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Call the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, Bakersfield, Fresno, Phoenix, or Tucson.