If hurt at work, you can typically file a claim on your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, the insurer might say that your injury is not work-related and refuse your claim.
Defining what is work-related can be challenging
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers things to be work-related when you are doing something “in the interest of the employer.” Sometimes the boundaries are fuzzy. You might need legal help to argue what you were doing at the time was work-related.
Am I always covered when I am in my usual place of work?
Most accidents in your workplace environment during working hours would count. However, if you enter your workplace as a customer on your day off, any accident sustained that day might not be covered.
Does traveling to work count?
If injured on the bus to work, you probably cannot claim. If injured while dropping off a package for your employer on your way to work, you might be able to. If you drive the company vehicle from your home to your workplace, that may well count, too.
Can I claim if injured on my lunch break?
If you slip over in the workplace canteen, you can probably claim. If you are injured, eating lunch in the local sandwich shop, a claim may be more difficult. However, if you were injured running to pick up sandwiches for an office lunch meeting, you probably do have grounds.
What about an after-hours event?
Taking a client to a baseball game or for dinner would be considered work-related. The office party would probably be covered, too.
Insurers can come up with all sorts of ways to try and negate your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Understanding the laws involved is essential to a successful claim.