As a rule of thumb, you are entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits if you are injured at your workplace. These benefits cover two-thirds of lost wages, medication costs, medical treatment and therapy expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury. But can you claim workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured at the workplace while off-the-clock? Yes, you can. However, there are only few situations in which you may be able to recover damages for off-the-clock workplace accidents.
In many states, the “going and coming” rule is followed, according to which the employers liability begins when the worker enters the workplace premises, and it ends when they leave the workplace. The US Department of Labor also calls this rule as the ‘portal to portal’ rule. This means that if a worker is injured when commuting to and from the workplace, the employer is not liable to pay workers’ compensation. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, under which a worker can claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
1. Performing a Task Assigned by the Employer
If your employer has asked you to run an errand on your way back home or when coming to work the next day, the injuries you sustain while performing this task may be covered under workers’ comp benefits.
2. Off-site Work for Employer’s Benefit
If your job involves working away from the job site, like travelling to different locations, then you will be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits if you are injured during this time. This even covers incidents that may take place while going to and coming back from work. However, there is an exception to this situation. If you are injured while drunk driving and are convicted for a DUI, then the employer is not liable to pay for workers’ compensation.
3. Sidewalks and Parking Lots
According to the portal to portal rule, employer will be liable to pay compensation when any injury occurs on the workplace premises, including parking lots, gardens, smoking areas, and sidewalks. This is because these areas are also your employer’s property, and are included in your workplace premises.
4. Off-duty Visits
Technically, if a worker is injured while visiting the workplace during off-duty timings, they cannot claim workers’ compensation benefits. However, this condition applies when the employer is unaware of their visits. In the case if the employer is aware and didn’t stop the worker from making the after-hours visits, the injured worker can make a claim for workers’ comp benefits.
If you have been injured in one of the above situations and are denied of your workers’ compensation benefits, you should consult with our experienced and reliable workers’ compensation attorney. At Fisk &Monteleone LTD., we will guide you through the process of filing your claim and help you evaluate your legal options. To learn more about your workers’ compensation rights, contact us today at 815-209-9030.