Any kind of personal injury has the potential to derail your life. When you are hurt at work, however, an injury can easily interfere with your ability to earn a living. You are not only hurt – you’re also dealing with a blow to your livelihood. It can be downright scary.
Workers’ compensation is designed to give workers financial support to help them pay their bills and maintain their lifestyle when they can’t work due to an injury suffered on the job.
If your job requires you to travel, you may be wondering whether you still qualify for benefits. Workers’ compensation is a complicated area of law, which is why it’s very important to contact a Jacksonville workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as an on-the-job injury occurs.
What Is a Work-related Injury?
Under Florida workers’ compensation law, injuries are covered by the workers’ compensation statute when they “[arise] out of and in the course of employment.”
This is a pretty straightforward concept in cases where an employee is injured in a factory or during a slip and fall incident in the office. Workers injured on the job may be entitled to one of four types of disability compensation, including:
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
What happens when a worker is injured away from his or her usual place of employment? What if you fall in your hotel room during an overnight business trip for a sales meeting? This is where things can become far more complicated.
Injuries That Happen During Travel
In general, under Florida law, activities performed in the scope of employment are considered work-related. Likewise, injuries that occur while a worker is involved in work-related activities are covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, an employee who works in sales and travels regularly as part of his or her job duties is most likely covered by workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that occur during travel. In this type of case, the employee can pursue a workers’ compensation claim just like any other employee hurt on the job.
With this in mind, it’s also important to distinguish between business travel and a regular commute to work. Driving to and from work every day is not part of an employee’s normal working hours, injuries that happen during regular commutes are not covered by workers’ compensation.
Florida courts have also distinguished between activities performed in connection with work and activities performed for personal reasons.
For example, a salesperson injured during a slip and fall incident at a hotel for a sales meeting is likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, but the same salesperson is probably not covered for injuries sustained while mountain biking in his or her free time during the same trip.
Injuries During Work-sponsored Social Gatherings
Accidents can happen any time. When a worker is injured off the clock but during an employer-sponsored social gathering or event, he or she may wish to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In these cases, the law usually goes against the employee.
For example, in a 2005 Florida case, Whitehead v. Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the court denied a deputy workers’ compensation benefits for a broken wrist she suffered while playing softball with her co-workers and supervisor.
Even though the deputy was injured while on-call for her job, the court decided she was not actually involved in a work-related activity at the time of her injury.
Don’t Wait to Call a Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Have you been injured on the job? If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay your bills and keep everything together, we can help.
Our Jacksonville workers’ compensation attorneys work hard to make sure every Florida worker we represent has the workers’ compensation advice and support they need to feel confident about their case.
Call us today to speak to a Jacksonville workers’ compensation lawyer about your claim.
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