Many jobs require employees to be on the road occasionally or on a regular basis. When an injury or illness occurs while away from the main job site, you might wonder what your rights are to workers' compensation. For an overview of what to expect in general, read on.
Traveling for Your Employer
In general, employees are covered by workers' compensation during a business trip. The coverage begins the moment they leave their home. It covers employees for the full duration of the trip not including any vacation time added to it. However, this type of insurance situation can become confusing because of overlapping coverage. Auto insurance covers you unless you are driving a company vehicle on business. Also, the places you visit on your business trip have coverage as well.
For instance, if you are injured in a convention center while on a business trip, the convention center could be liable for your damages as well as your employer's workers' compensation. The insurers involved may use something known as subrogation to sort things out. For you, that means one insurer will step forward and cover you and then seek reimbursement from the other insurer.
Off the Work Site
You don't have to leave town to be covered by your employer's workers' compensation insurance, however. If you get hurt while attending a meeting across town, you should be covered. You will need to show that the meeting is part of your job, however, to be covered. If you stop off at a restaurant for a quick bite before going back to work, you may not be covered during that meal.
Many workers are expected to participate in non-work recreational activities. The spring picnic or the annual flag football game, for example, may be common in your workplace. If you are hurt while participating in one of those recreational activities, your chances of being covered depends on how the activity is viewed by your employer. If the activity involves work-related activities, you should be covered for injuries, such as, for example, end-of-year bonus checks given out at the Christmas dinner. That puts the dinner in the work-related bucket.
Another issue involves breaks and lunches. If you are hurt during a break, you probably won't be covered by workers' compensation. The same with lunch unless you were sent to pick up lunch for a supervisor. Then, coverage may be possible if an accident occurs.
If you are certain that you should be covered but are being denied benefits, speak to a workers' compensation lawyer about your claim.