Everyone Should Learn a Little about Law
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Everyone Should Learn a Little about Law

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!


Everyone Should Learn a Little about Law

Injured During A Work-Related Game? You May Be Eligible For Worker's Comp

Kaylee Wells

You've probably heard the expression, "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt," right? Well, in the world of worker's compensation, that phrase has even more meaning now. If you've been injured during a "fun" or team-building activity in your workplace and have had to miss substantial time from work because of it, you could be eligible for worker's compensation benefits.

When Ball Games Attack

In 2014, South Carolina's Supreme Court ruled that a man who was injured while playing in a voluntary workplace kickball game was eligible for worker's comp benefits. The injured man had organized the kickball game for his employer, and so the court decided it was reasonable to believe the man had to attend the event as part of his employment. Unfortunately, the man broke his tibia and fibula during the game that required two surgeries.

The man was also advised he would probably need a knee replacement in the future. Of course, not all injuries that occur during work-related activities and games are covered by workman's comp. So how do you know which ones are? The following are some basic guidelines that could help you determine whether your injury is covered by worker's comp benefits:

  • Were you required by your boss to attend an event?  For example, were you injured during a mandatory team-building or wellness activity? 
  • Did your employer provide financial support for the activity? Did they, for instance, pay for refreshments for the event?
  • Did your injury occur during an event to entertain customers such as a golf outing? Did your attendance at the event benefit your employer? 
  • Were you injured while attending an off-site company-sponsored party or retreat? 
  • Was it implied that your attendance was required for the activity? In other words, there were no actual orders given by management that said you were required to attend, but it was obvious to all parties involved you were supposed to participate. 
  • Did the activity occur during working hours and/or on company property? 
  • Do you know if your employer plans on deducting the event as a business expense? 

When You Might Not be Covered

The following activities may sound similar to the ones described above, but may not be covered by worker's compensation:

  • A game or party that occurs outside of work that is organized by co-workers but is not an event sponsored by your employer. Even if you, for example, were injured during a kickball game for a team that bears your employer's name -- the Acme Company Kickers, for instance -- you may not be covered if it's not an official company-sponsored team. 
  • An event was thrown by the company, but attendance was voluntary. According to Legal Zoom, an employee who was injured while cooking food for a holiday party was not eligible for benefits because the event was not mandatory. 

Consult a Lawyer

Of course, these guidelines can vary from state to state and little nuances in an individual case could affect whether or not your injuries are covered by worker's compensation benefits. That is why it is important to consult with a worker's compensation lawyer if you are injured while participating in an event that could be construed as work-related. 

Decisions in these types of cases also can change from year to year and from court to court. For example, in the South Carolina case, lower courts originally ruled the injured employee was not eligible for worker's compensation benefits. So the injured man didn't actually prevail in his case until the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed the original ruling. 

If you believe that you have a valid case, it is definitely worth the time and effort to consult with a lawyer, like one at Lovett Schefrin Harnett