Contrary to the popular belief, you may be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits even for injuries that occur outside of the workplace and outside of regular business hours.
Your workers compensation coverage does not clock out when you clock out at the end of the working day. Workers comp benefits are awarded to workers who sustain on-the-job injuries, but what constitutes “on the job” is actually quite ambiguous in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.
While these benefits are supposed to cover the medical expenses and loss of income for employees who get injured in the workplace, in some cases, the definition of “workplace injuries” can be vague, says our workers compensation attorney in Los Angeles from the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach.
What many workers in Los Angeles and all across California do not realize is that workers’ compensation coverage applies to employees performing their job duties regardless of the location and time of day.
Outside of the regular business hours. While it is believed that all injuries sustained by workers outside of the regular hours are disqualified from workers comp coverage, it is not always the case. Our best workers compensation attorneys in California explain that workers who get injured while working on a job assignment or performing their job duties outside of the regular hours of operation may still be eligible to receive workers comp benefits.
Special Assignment. Just because an injury occurs outside of the workplace does not necessarily disqualify a worker from workers comp coverage to compensate for his medical expenses, loss of income, and loss of earning capacity. Performing job-related tasks and running errands for your employer is considered the same as performing regular job duties, even when these tasks are performed outside of the workplace or office.
“While it may seem as if California workers compensation laws provide workers comp benefits to all workers, it is not the case,” says our experienced attorney. There are actually quite a few exceptions to the general workers’ comp rules. These exceptions include:
Portal to portal rule. The portal to portal rule refers to the commute a worker takes to get to and from work. When an employee is not performing his/her duties or job-related tasks along the commute route, any injuries arising during this period will be disqualified from workers compensation coverage.
Off-work visits. If you think that you can drop by the office or workplace anytime you want and you can still be covered by workers comp, you are wrong. When a worker makes an unscheduled visit to the workplace or office, he or she will not be entitled to workers comp benefits in case of a “workplace” injury unless the employer requested the visit, approved the visit, or was aware that the employee would make the unscheduled visit.
Employer’s controlled areas. Unless your employer controls the parking lots, sidewalks or any other area near the workplace/office, you may not be entitled to recover workers comp benefits in case of an injury in the areas not controlled by the employer. A rule of thumb is that if an employer pays for a certain area or designates it as an area for his/her employees, workers who sustain injuries in these areas may be qualified to receive workers comp benefits.
The extent to which you may or may not be covered by workers compensation is not always clear unless you consult with a Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer who will carefully review your particular case and formulate the most optimal legal strategy to pursue compensation for your on-the-job injuries (even when those injuries occur outside of the workplace and outside of the normal business hours).