Where does workers’ compensation end in this 24/7 world?
Workers compensation is a statutorily created method for payment of medical care and lost wages for injured employees within the course and scope of their employment. This is provided in lieu of pursuit of any personal injury action against an employer.
Employees are typically covered while at work and can be protected while engaging in work related activities other than at their physical work address. Generally travel to work and from work is not covered, but there are exceptions which should be explored.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits, a worker must be injured while within the course and scope of their employment, also referred to as on-the-job, or on-the-clock. Defining this time is crucial in a workers’ compensation claim. On-the-job tasks can overlap with personal activities, making the lines of the beginning and end of a workday hard to determine.
Where is the line drawn between business and personal time? A simple rule for determining if workers’ comp benefits are payable is whether the injury occurred “while in the course & scope of employment,” meaning regardless of the physical location or the time of day, if an employee is performing an assigned job duty, their injury is covered under workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Some examples of workers’ compensation exceptions while “off the clock” include the following:
- When an employee is required to be away from their primary workplace or home in order to perform their assigned duties. For example, employees who are traveling for work and commuting to or from a hotel.
- When the employer requests a special task. For example, an employee is driving home from work, and they stop to drop off paperwork at the request of their employer, taking them off their normal route. This creates a “special mission.”
- Areas controlled by the employer outside of the workplace. This includes any area controlled by an employer that an employee must use to get to or leave the workplace, such as sidewalks and parking lots which are controlled by and/or provided by the employer for the convenience of employees.
- Outside of regular business hours. This one is getting harder to determine as we live in a 24/7 world, and many tasks are completed out of the usual 9-5. A more defined example is employees who work on-call after hours.
- After-hour visits. If going to work when not otherwise scheduled, the business purpose or connection for such visit needs to be analyzed in a case by case basis to see if coverage can be obtained.
Defining the course and scope of work for a workers’ compensation claim is becoming increasingly complex. Contact one of our Florida workers’ compensation attorneys to learn more about your legal options for filing a claim and to determine how you are covered. We’re here to help you receive the full amount of benefits you deserve.