Working doesn’t mean you sit behind a desk all day in one spot. You might have to leave the office to do business. Or, you might work outside the office on your regular course of duties. Because you might not be on the business premises all day, you might wonder if accidents occurring offsite will qualify you for workers’ compensation? Can you receive benefits even if you are offsite when an accident occurs?
The answer: it depends. However, you will likely find that your workers’ compensation offers benefits in a wide range of working environments. Still, you likely have to meet at least one important stipulation to receive benefits—you must be officially at-work when they occur.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a type of business insurance. It helps business owners provide employees with a supplementary income if they get hurt on the job.
A common example of a workers’ compensation claim is one where an employee slips and falls while working on a project, sustaining severe injuries. However, even injuries incurred while in the bathroom, or from years of repetitive motion on the job, might qualify for workers’ comp. The employer’s workers compensation can cover the employee’s medical bills, lost income, and might even provide them with disability benefits during their recovery.
Each state structures its workers’ compensation programs differently. Therefore, the type and amount of benefits, along with the qualifying injuries, will vary from case to case. However, nearly all states require most or all businesses within their borders to carry workers’ comp insurance. So, if you get hurt on the job, you will often have help available.
Qualifying for Workers’ Comp While Offsite
Working is a fluid situation, and getting up from your desk doesn’t mean you necessarily stop working. That’s why, in most cases, even if you aren’t at your worksite, you might qualify for workers’ compensation.
However, not all injuries sustained offsite will qualify. To receive any workers’ compensation benefit, you have to prove your claim. This usually means demonstrating that the injury occurred while you were officially on the job, and that you received the injury because of your working duties. Some offsite injuries might not qualify, given these (and other) regulations.
Working remotely might be any time that you have to work somewhere that is not your ordinary working environment. For example, you might provide IT services, and work from different clients’ sites to service their systems. Or, perhaps, you might be a traveling salesperson who drives hundreds of miles each month to visit clients. During these times, you are still at work. Therefore, you might qualify for a workers’ compensation claim. Even if you get hurt on another business’s premises, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance can likely still apply.
Working from home is still work. You might work from home permanently, or only a couple of days per week. In these cases, you will likely still qualify for all workers’ compensation benefits provided to anyone who works on the business premises. You will still have to prove that the injuries related to your working duties, however.
Plenty of people drive for work. Some are employee drivers or delivery drivers. Others might have to drive to work meetings or to meet with clients. Should car wrecks occur, the employee could get hurt. In these cases, they often can still qualify for workers’ compensation. Even if they drive their personally-owned vehicles, they can often get covered.
Whether you can receive workers’ compensation for injuries sustained at a work event might depends on a couple of factors. If the employer is the event’s sponsor, then this is still an official event, even if it is casual. For example, even holiday lunches sponsored by the company are still work events. Therefore, you might be able to qualify for workers’ compensation. All the same, simple gatherings of employees, such as happy hours, might not qualify.
At times the company might host or sponsor recreational events. For example, there might be a company outing to a carnival or sporting event. If you go on these events for business, such as to entertain clients, then you might be able to get workers’ compensation. However, not all company recreational events will qualify. That does not mean you cannot file a claim, however.
Whether you qualify for workers’ compensation during lunch breaks will depend on a variety of scenarios. For example, if you get hurt while eating in the company lunch room, you might get benefits because you were onsite at the time.
However, if you leave for lunch, and an accident occurs while you are at the restaurant, you might not be able claim workers’ comp. All the same, exceptions during these times might exist. For example, if you must attend a business lunch, or even go to pick up food for your coworkers or boss, you might still be able to file for workers’ comp.
Your workers’ comp eligibility will vary based on multiple factors. Therefore, don’t hesitate to talk to your employer about the way an injury offsite can receive benefits.