Worker's Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Claims During Travel

Workers’ Compensation Claims During Travel

Injuries during working hours can be devastating, especially when a person works a dangerous job like construction or utility line workers. Rather than deal with the numerous lawsuits between employers and employees that would arise from these sorts of injuries, states enacted workers’ compensation laws. These laws set up a system of workers’ compensation insurance that employers pay into. Then, if the employee is harmed on the job, they can file a claim against their employer’s insurance to cover their injury. However, this raises a new question: exactly what does it mean to be injured on the job? After all, numerous employees travel for work, so an injury that happens while traveling may be covered.

Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation

To understand whether an injury that happens during travel qualifies for workers’ compensation it is helpful to first understand the baseline for qualification. Workers’ compensation is available to employees who suffer injuries in the course of their employment because of some risk that their employment created. This standard breaks down into two parts: (1) “Did the injury occur in the course of the employment?” And (2) “Was the injury a result of a risk that the job created?”

The answers to both of those questions depend greatly on the type of job in question. For instance, a person whose job requires a lot of data entry may develop carpal tunnel as a result of their job and the risk that was created by constant typing. Conversely, someone who does not type or work with their hands, but spends their evenings on the computer, may also develop the same injury but not be covered because the risk of carpal tunnel had nothing to do with their work.

Injuries while Traveling

Whether an injury that happened while traveling qualifies for workers’ compensation will also depend on the duties of the specific job. The law covers injuries that occur during travel if the injury occurs while the employee is “actively engaged in the duties of employment.” In order to qualify as being actively engaged in the duties of employment, the travel must be required by the employer and the employer must be compensating the employee for the travel. If both these criteria are met, then the employee may be able to succeed on a workers’ compensation claim for the injury.

Importantly, there is a special exception to this rule for injuries that happen during an ordinary daily commute. Those sorts of injuries are explicitly not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Injuries on the job can be severe and life-altering. If you have recently suffered an injury that is work-related, make sure to contact a workers’ comp lawyer who can help ensure that you get the medical benefits and the wage benefits you are entitled to.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP for their insight into how a workers comp lawyer can help.