A common question that comes up in workers’ compensation is whether or not an injury is compensable when it occurs outside the workplace. Four situations where this question commonly comes up are injuries: going to or from work, in the parking lot, on lunch breaks, and while running errands. Here are the general rules.
Injured While Going to and from work
Injuries that happen while a worker is going to or from work, such as car accidents, are generally not compensable. An exception to this rule is when the worker is injured using employer-provided transportation, such as an employee shuttle. Those injuries usually are covered by workers’ compensation. However, the exception does not apply when the employer is merely paying the worker an additional stipend to use public transportation.
Injured in the Parking lot
Whether an injury in the parking lot is covered by workers’ compensation depends on whether or not the parking lot is considered part of the employer’s premises. The fact that employees regularly walk across a parking lot, or regularly use a parking lot is not enough to make it part of the premises. However, if a certain number of spots are reserved for employees or the lot is owned by the employer, that would make the parking lot part of the premises. If the parking lot is part of the employer’s premises, then the injury is usually covered by workers’ compensation.
Injured During Lunch Break
Accidents that occur during lunch breaks are generally not covered by workers’ compensation. There are two exceptions to this general rule, however. First, under the “paid lunch” exception, injuries that occur during lunch break are covered if the employer gives the worker a paid lunch break. Second, an injury during lunch break is covered if the employer asks the employee to run an errand on behalf of the workplace during his or her break and the worker is injured while running that errand.
Injured Doing an Errand
If an injury occurs while the worker is running an errand for the employer, it is covered under workers’ compensation even though the injury did not occur at work. Sometimes even injuries that occur while the worker is running a personal errand are covered if the worker was also running an errand for the employer on the same trip. The court will look at how work-related the errand was as well as how much the errand benefitted the employer.
To find out if you injury is covered by Workers’ Compensation contact Attorney Eric May for a free consultation at 202-822-8264.