Smith, Feddeler & Smith, P.A.

What qualifies as an on-the-job injury?

In order for an employee to recoup workers' compensation damages, an accident and related injuries need to have happened while the worker was carrying out his or her job duties. In other words, the incident needs to have happened in the course and scope of the workers' employment.

If an employee, for example, gets hurt while driving home from work - and he or she was off the clock - then it's highly unlikely that a viable claim for workers' compensation damages can be made.

A more detailed definition of "work-related" injury

Under the state workers' compensation system, a "work-related" injury generally means that the injury happened while the worker was performing a job duty for his or her employer, or while the worker was on the clock. In most situations, these injuries happen at the physical grounds of the workplace. But if a worker is on-site at another location, or driving a company vehicle, he or she may still be able to seek workers' compensation benefits following an injury.

The primary question to determine workers' compensation benefit eligibility in all employee injury cases is: Did the injury happen during an activity that was in any way connected to the workers' jobs.

Workplace injuries might even happen at an after-hours company Christmas party, at a tradeshow event, or while a worker was driving his or her own vehicle to collect mail from the company's post office box. Even in situations where workers were off-task and roughhousing, if the accident happened during working hours, the injured employee could qualify for benefits.

It doesn't matter whose fault the injury was

It doesn't matter if a worker's negligence or recklessness caused his or her injuries. In fact, it doesn't even matter if it was an accident or caused by the negligence of the employer. Workers hurt in the course and scope of their employment - for almost all intents and purposes -- should be able to get money to pay for medical care.

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