While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
Worker's compensation laws protect you when you are injured at work. Under most circumstances this means you must be on the property of your employer when the accident occurs, but there are some instances when your injuries are covered before or after you have set foot in the office, or at locations other than your regular job site. Regulations may vary from state to state, but there are some basic guidelines to help you determine if you are covered by worker's comp. Check with your worker's compensation lawyer if you are unsure whether your circumstances qualify under worker's compensation laws in your state.
Daily Commute: Under normal circumstances, your commute to and from work is not considered part of your employment. Accidents and injuries resulting from the commute are not covered by worker's compensation. However, there are some instances when the drive is covered. If you are talking to another employee about work-related duties, making a phone call on your cell phone to a client or updating your employer on the status of work-related activities any accidents that occur are likely covered by worker's comp.
Travel Between Sites: If your work requires you to travel to multiple sites to accomplish your job, travel between sites is typically covered. That means if your boss asks you to work in another office for the day, or requires you to spend part of your time working at other locations, travel time is considered part of your job. If your boss pays you to travel to a conference or workshop the travel is also covered. If you split your job duties between telecommuting and office work, your travel time to the office is covered by worker's comp.
Parking Lot & Sidewalk Injuries
Whether parking lot injuries are covered under worker's comp depends on the circumstances. As a rule, if your employee owns the parking lot or provides designated parking, any injuries you incur in the parking lot will fall under the umbrella of your worker's comp insurance. However, if you park in a public parking space you may not be covered. Likewise, accidents that occur on private walkways to your office building are typically covered, while public sidewalks that run past your door may not be.
Whether you are covered for injuries that occur during your lunch period or during breaks depends on the circumstances. As a rule, employee lunch and break rooms are covered under your worker's compensation insurance. These rooms are provided by the employer and represent part of the workplace. If you are expected to dine in the lunch room, you are probably covered by the insurance, explains Find Law. However, if you leave the premises for lunch or breaks you are not covered, unless you are also performing job duties such as running work errands, dining with a client or otherwise considered on-duty. Being required to wear a beeper or keep your cell phone on in case of emergency contact may be considered on-duty.
Company-sponsored celebrations and events are typically covered by worker's compensation, even when they are held at public or private settings other than the workplace. If alcohol is served at the event, alcohol-related injuries are also covered, says Find Law. Company events that are considered voluntary may be exempt in some instances.
If you have suffered injuries that you believe are work-related, even if they were sustained outside the workplace, report it to your company worker's compensation designee and contact a worker's compensation lawyer. Be prepared to support your claim with details of the injury and why you believe it is work-related. Work-related injuries must be reported within 30 days of the accident. Check out sites like http://www.malatch.com for more information.