Personal Injury Lawyer
Sometimes a complicated set of factors can result in an injury at work. When the conditions under which the injury occurred are not straightforward, you may not be sure whether your injury qualifies for workers’ compensation. Despite jurisdictional variations in workers’ compensation laws, several basic principles apply when determining if the injury occurred in the course of employment.
Personal Comfort Rule
During the course of a normal workday, you need to take care of your own personal comfort at several points by eating and drinking, using the restroom, or taking medication. Such activities are considered incidental to work but necessary to it. Therefore, if your injury occurred at your workplace but while you were on a break to take care of your personal comfort, it still qualifies for workers’ compensation.
However, if you leave the workplace to attend to such necessities, the personal comfort rule no longer applies. Therefore, you would not be able to claim an injury that occurs on your lunch break if you left work to eat at a restaurant, but if the injury occurs while eating lunch on the premises, it is compensable.
Special Errand Rule
Sometimes your employer might ask you to leave the premises to run an errand. If its purpose is the furtherance of the employer’s business purpose, an injury that occurs while you are away from the workplace qualifies for compensation under the special errand rule. However, the injury is not covered if the employer sends you out on a personal errand.
Dual Purpose Doctrine
Sometimes you take a trip away from work that is not strictly personal or strictly work related but includes elements of each. The dual purpose doctrine applies to determine whether the injury occurred in the course of employment or not. The injury is compensable if the business trip would have been taken regardless of the extra personal purpose. However, if the trip would have been taken for personal reasons no matter what, the injury would not be compensable.
Going and Coming Rule
An injury that happens while you are driving to or from work might seem like it should be compensable. After all, you would not be taking the trip if you did not have the job. However, the going and coming rule prevents you from claiming workers’ compensation for an injury that occurs en route to work or when you are coming back home. There are some exceptions, however, when the only route to work is inherently dangerous or when your employer is paying for transportation.
If you have questions about whether your injury is truly work related, contact a law office. Attorneys, like a workers compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can help determine whether it qualifies for compensation.