Am I Covered For Injuries Sustained Off My Employers Premises

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As long as an employer is required by law to provide workers' compensation benefits, most non-contracted, direct employees will be covered, even if work is undertaken off the employer's premises. Since workers' compensation law involves strict liability rather than depending on determination of fault, the lack of control of an outside environment does not influence an employer's responsibility to provide insurance for medical care, compensation for lost wages, or rehabilitation for an injured employee.

Workers' compensation insurance is mandated by law in most jurisdictions, and is intended to to benefit both the workers and the employers. The workers are benefited because they know they will have an income if they are injured in the workplace or while performing the job, and they will usually not have to wait long for benefit payments to begin. If the injury or illness results in such disability that the employee will no longer be able to perform the same job as previously, the workers' compensation system will provide for vocational rehabilitation, as well.

Workers' compensation law also benefits the employer, because it generally prohibits the employee from having a legal right to bring a lawsuit against the employer for negligence. In this way, the employer is protected from costly, lengthy and sometimes vindictive litigation. This also benefits the overburdened court system by easing the caseload of injury-related claims.

There are countless situations where employees need to travel beyond the boundaries of the employer's facilities to perform their work. Injuries often occur during the course of travel for meetings, in situations where services are provided at a client's office or home, or during social events where attendance is required by an employer. Injuries or occupational exposures incurred under these circumstances are generally considered work-related under workers' compensation law. Individual state laws should be consulted to determine the existence of exclusions.

Some specific situations may exist where activities are performed off-site, on an employee's own time. However, if this activity is for the benefit of the employer, it may be compensable if coverage has been approved in advance. An example of this would be during fitness training for employees who are required to stay in shape for their jobs, such as police officers and firefighters. Approval is generally contingent on the employee providing a statement of intention specifying where the training will take place, what it will consist of, and when it will be done. These instances are rare, but an injury nevertheless may result in a paid claim when an employer has entered into a written agreement to provide this extended coverage.

Regardless of the place of an accident or occupational exposure, an employee continues to have an obligation to immediately report any injury. State laws generally require prominent display of injury reporting requirements in the workplace. Even if they were not working on the employer's premises, responsibility for being aware of injury/illness reporting procedures still lies with the employee. Failure to report an injury in a timely manner, as specified under a state's worker's compensation law, may diminish the employer's responsibility or even exclude a claim altogether.

If you have sustained an injury as the result of a hazardous working condition, whether it was on-premises or off-premises, you should consult with a workers' compensation lawyer or attorney. The attorney can advise you of your rights vis-a-vis the relevant workers' compensation laws in your jurisdiction, and can assist you in the process of filing a claim to make certain that you receive the maximum benefits to which you may be entitled.


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