Though these events are designed to help bring workers together, socialize and unwind, in some cases, the event may lead to an injury.
Workers’ compensation benefits may not apply to all injuries or illnesses a worker gets. The laws explicitly say that the health conditions must directly arise from the worker’s job, whether it’s the activities they perform, or simply the environment.
This, in practice, has led to a lot of workers not being compensated for an injury based on a technicality, which could also be the case of injuries sustained during a company event.
Work Events: Are You Required to Be There?
Work events can take on many different forms, from launch parties, team-building retreats, or the classic Christmas party. Though these events are designed to help bring workers together, socialize and unwind, in some cases, the event may lead to an injury.
The question is: does worker’s comp cover these types of injuries?
In most cases, employers will make any event they organize optional, meaning the workers are not obligated in any way to attend. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to injured workers because of the notion that their job required them to be present at a specific location, or perform a specific activity. If not for these requirements, the worker may not have gotten injured.
As a result, a case can be made that injuring yourself during a work event does not fall under workers’ compensation eligibility. You did not have to attend the event, and you were likely off the clock and not performing any work activities at that time.
Your Employer May Still Be Liable
Workers’ compensation may not apply to work events (unless you are required to be present as part of your job), but it doesn’t mean you don’t have options for compensation.
Your employer still has a responsibility to ensure the safety of all their workers, even during these events. So, under some circumstances, you may have the option of filing a personal injury claim against your employer if they did not ensure your safety during the event.
In other cases, if the event takes place at a restaurant or another location, you may be able to hold a third party liable. However, when it comes to personal injury cases, your role in the accident becomes relevant.
In short, to get compensated you’d have to show the accident was not, in any way, your fault, but the result of someone’s negligence. In worker’s comp, you have a no-fault system where the question of who is liable doesn’t really matter.
In personal injury claims, proving fault is the entire point.
What Are Your Options?
Before you do anything, you should get in touch with an experienced St. Louis worker’s compensation lawyer for a free consultation. It may be difficult for you to determine if you have a shot at a worker’s comp claim, or need to go the personal injury route, but an experienced lawyer can definitely help you figure this out.
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