Work-Related Or Not? Determining Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage
It's easy to assume that an accident that happens on the job is covered by your employer's workers' compensation insurance, but that is not always the case. While thinking you have coverage and not actually having it is bad enough, not knowing that your situation is covered by workers' comp is just as bad. Read on for more info about what to expect from some less-common injury situations.
Less-common but perhaps still covered
Not all work or work-related injuries occur in an industrial setting, although injuries in those settings tend to be serious ones. Even office workers, managers and business travelers can qualify for coverage if the situation calls for it.
Your commute: The potential for an accident to occur while driving to and from work is an ever-present possibility but in most cases, you are not likely to be covered. The only exception to this rule is if you are actually driving a company-provided vehicle at the time of the wreck. If you are in an accident while commuting to or from your workplace, you must rely on your automobile insurance and your own health insurance to cover you. You may be entitled to several forms of money damages if the accident was not your fault and you file a personal injury suit, however.
Away from work but still working: This broad category of coverage extends to several different situations. As long you are away from work for a job-related task then you are covered. This includes:
- Running errands for your supervisor, such as picking up lunch or visiting the office supply store.
- Attending a training session, meeting or appointment at a nearby location.
- Away from home and work for a business trip. Here you can expect doorway to doorway coverage for any part of the trip.
- Employer-sponsored recreational activities: Whether it's a team-building exercise or a company picnic you are covered in most cases. While many of these activities may not be required, they may be expected of employees nevertheless and if company awards are given out there you may be able to prove that you had little choice but to attend.
You broke the rules or were under the influence: This one depends on the circumstances, since you may have had an accident while taking legally-prescribed medications. You cannot be fired or denied workers' compensation if you can show proof of a prescription. You cannot be denied benefits for getting hurt due to disregarding company rules, but you may get fired. You cannot get fired for getting hurt but for breaking the rules.
The above circumstances are fairly rare but not unheard of, and if you are involved in one you may need help from a workers compensation attorney to show that the accident was really work-related.