Workers' Compensation: The Grey Areas
If you have suffered an injury while on the job—or due to a work-related event—it is possible that you qualify for workers' compensation. Although "work-related" may seem like an easy qualifier for the coverage, it's not so black and white.
Four common grey areas of workers' compensation include:
1. Injuries during Breaks
If you suffer an injury during your lunch break—or any other break—you may not qualify for coverage. This is because you were not doing anything for your boss or place of employment. However, this can easily change if you were injured on the premises of your job.
For example, spraining your ankle on your way to pick up lunch outside of the company probably won't qualify. However, if you slipped and fell in your employer's cafeteria, you might be approved for workers' comp.
2. Travel-Related Injuries
Some travel-related injuries might be covered by workers' compensation, while others may not be. If you injure yourself on your commute to or from work, it is likely that you will be denied—unless you are driving a company vehicle. However, if you injure yourself while you are traveling for a work-related trip, you might be covered.
For example, a car accident on your way to work will not be covered—in most situations. But if you get into an accident while you're fetching lunch for your boss—or on a business trip—you will probably be covered.
3. Violating Safety Rules
It is usually easy to deny cases when people violate safety rules. However, it also falls into a grey area. Depending on the situation, and the reaction of your superior, you may still be covered if you get hurt when violating safety rules.
For example, if your boss knows that you and other employees practice horseplay in the office—with or without objects—you may be covered, especially if your boss does not approve of it.
4. Company Events
You might think that company events are not covered by workers' compensation, but they usually are. Even if drinking is involved, if any injury occurs it is likely that you will be covered. However, each situation varies—as does employers.
If you are trying to get workers' compensation and your case falls into any of these grey areas, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S.. Because these cases are difficult to determine fault, it is likely that you will need a lawyer to help prove your case.