Workplace injuries can occur under various circumstances, and sometimes employees may find themselves injured while performing tasks outside of their regular job duties.
Understanding how Missouri workers’ compensation laws address such situations is crucial for employees who want to ensure they receive the benefits they are entitled to when they suffer a work-related injury. What happens if you are injured while working outside your regular job duties, and how does it affect your Missouri workers’ compensation claim?
Understanding the Scope of Employment
To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri, an injury must arise out of and during employment. This means that the damage must be directly related to the employee’s job duties or occur while the employee performs their job. In general, if an employee is injured while performing tasks assigned by their employer or tasks that benefit the employer, the injury is considered within the scope of employment and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Injuries Outside of Normal Job Duties
There are instances when employees might be asked to perform tasks outside of their regular job duties or take on additional responsibilities. In such cases, if the employee is injured while performing these tasks and if they were assigned by the employer or directly benefited the employer, the injury will likely still be considered within the scope of employment and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, if a secretary is asked to help move office furniture and suffers an injury, the injury would likely be covered by workers’ compensation, even if moving furniture is not part of the secretary’s regular job duties.
Exceptions and Limitations
In certain situations, workers’ compensation might not cover an injury sustained while performing tasks outside of regular job duties. These exceptions and limitations include the following:
- Personal Errands: If an employee is injured while running a personal errand unrelated to their job or employer, the injury will generally not be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, if an employee decides to stop by the grocery store on their way to a work-related task and suffers an injury in the store, that injury would not be considered work-related.
- Horseplay or Rule Violations: Injuries resulting from horseplay or violations of workplace safety rules may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of whether the injury occurred during normal job duties or tasks outside of those duties.
- Voluntary Activities: If an employee voluntarily takes on additional tasks or responsibilities without direction from their employer and is injured in the process, the injury might not be covered by workers’ compensation. For instance, if an employee chooses to repaint the office walls without being asked by the employer and suffers an injury, the injury may not be considered work-related.
- Commuting and Breaks: Injuries sustained during an employee’s commute to or from work or during personal breaks are typically not covered by workers’ compensation, as they are not considered to have occurred during employment.
In Missouri, workers’ compensation benefits generally extend to injuries sustained while performing tasks outside of normal job duties, as long as those tasks are assigned by the employer or directly benefit the employer. However, exceptions and limitations exist, such as personal errands, horseplay, voluntary activities, and injuries during commuting or breaks.
If you have been injured while working outside of your regular job duties, it is essential to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and seek medical attention. Keep detailed records of the incident, your injuries, and any related medical expenses. It is highly recommended that you consult an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney, The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, who can help navigate the complex claims process and ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to under Missouri law.