What activities are considered work, and covered under Workers Compensation?
Under current Workers Compensation law, any activity an employee engages in within the “course or scope” of their employment is considered to be work. Course and scope is a legal term of art referring to an employee’s performance of job related duties, and will vary from job title to job title. An employee that drives a take homework vehicle is probably in the course and scope of their job from the time he leaves his residence to the time he arrives at home, subject to certain limitations. An employee that works in an office, and drives their own personal vehicle back in forth to work, is probably not in the course and scope of their employment during their daily commute.
The test for whether an employee is in the course and scope of his employment many times rests on the extent of control and direction the employer has on the employee when the injury occurs. While the below list is not exhaustive, there are five (5) areas of activity that may or may not be within a worker’s course and scope of employment.
Employees many times engage in recreational and social activities related to their employment. As a general rule, recreational or social activities are not compensable unless such recreational or social activities are an expressly required incident of employment and produce a substantial direct benefit to the employer beyond improvement in employee health and morale that is common to all kinds of recreation and social life. A Christmas party given by the employer, with the direction of the employer that attendance is mandatory would trigger benefits if an injury were to occur to an employee as the result of attending the party. If the employer were to give all the employees free tickets to a baseball game, but did not require attendance of anyone, a party injured as the result of a fly ball could not expect any type of compensation.
An injury suffered while going to or coming from work is not an injury arising out of and in the course of employment whether or not the employer provided transportation if such means of transportation was available for the exclusive personal use by the employee, unless the employee was engaged in a special errand or mission for the employer. For the purposes of this subsection and not withstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, an injury to a law enforcement officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), during the officer’s work period or while going to or coming from work in an official law enforcement vehicle, shall be presumed to be an injury arising out of and in the course of employment unless the injury occurred during a distinct deviation for a nonessential personal errand. If, however, the employer’s policy or the collective bargaining agreement that applies to the officer permits such deviations for nonessential errands, the injury shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment.
An employee who is injured while deviating from the course of employment, including leaving the employer’s premises, is not eligible for benefits unless such deviation is expressly approved by the employer, or unless such deviation or act is in response to an emergency and designed to save life or property.
An employee who is required to travel in connection with his or her employment who suffers an injury while in travel status shall be eligible for benefits under this chapter only if the injury arises out of and in the course of employment while he or she is actively engaged in the duties of employment. This subsection applies to travel necessarily incident to performance of the employee’s job responsibility but does not include travel to and from work as provided in subsection (2).
Injuries caused by a subsequent intervening accident arising from an outside agency which are the direct and natural consequence of the original injury are not compensable unless suffered while traveling to or from a health care provider for the purpose of receiving remedial treatment for the compensable injury.
Do you have questions concerning whether your work related injury occurred in the course and scope of your employment or if there was some exception? Contact the law office of attorney Dan Newlin at (407) 888-8000 for a free evaluation of your case. Employers often deny claims that are based upon legitimate and valid injuries. Don’t trust your employer to tell you if you have a claim, consult an experienced and qualified attorney. In a free phone call, Dan can tell you if you may have a claim and put you on the path of maximizing the value of your case. Call now, you have noting to lose and everything to gain.