Filing for workers’ compensation means that an injured employee must prove that their injury or illness is work-related. Any time an employee is injured on the job, while performing tasks related to that job, they are eligible for workers’ compensation. However, determining eligibility is not always straightforward. There are instances where an employee can be injured in a work-related activity, but not necessarily while performing their job duties. This workers’ compensation gray area can result in conflict between the employee, employer, and their insurance company, as each side tries to prove or disprove eligibility. While it is always best an injured worker contact an attorney, following are a few tips to help determine if an injury is truly considered “work-related” or not.
Injuries While on Lunch Breaks
If an employee is injured on their lunch break while on work grounds (such as an employee breakroom), they may be covered by workers’ compensation. This is because employees that stay on-site for lunch do so to increase work time, which benefits the employer; therefore, they may be considered operating within their “work” duties.
Injuries at Company Events
Companies often host special events for their employees, such as Christmas parties, picnics, and even games. If an employee is injured while at a company-sponsored event, they should be covered under workers’ compensation benefits, since the event is work-related.
Injuries While Traveling to Work
Injuries that occur while an employee is traveling to work are one of the most difficult types of cases to handle. Employees may assume they are covered for any injuries that occur while commuting to and from work; however, because this is not directly related to a work, they are not. If, however, the employee is driving a company car and commuting to work, an accident may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. There are other situations when a commute to or from work may be covered.
Injuries That Occur Due to Employee Misconduct
When an employee is injured because they are breaking a workplace safety rule or doing something not allowed, they may still be covered by workers’ compensation benefits, depending on the severity of that misconduct. There are exceptions to this rule, such as those injuries that are self-inflicted or due to operating machinery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Injuries That Affect Pre-Existing Conditions
Pre-existing injuries or illnesses that are exacerbated by a job is covered by workers’ compensation as long as the employee can prove that the workplace injury aggravated their pre-existing condition.
Is Your Injury or Illness in a Gray Area? Contact Pothitakis Law Firm Today
Gray area workers’ compensation claims are complex and often require the assistance of an attorney. If your injury or illness is in this gray area, contact Pothitakis Law Firm today. We can help you explore your options and determine if you have a valid claim against your employer. Call us at 866-753-4692 or complete an online contact form to get started.