What Happens if You Get Injured Outside of Work?


Cassandra Nguy

Workers’ comp covers your work injuries and lost wages, but what happens if you get injured outside of work? Although workers’ comp covers injuries during working hours, you may get compensated without being at your workplace in certain situations.

Actions like attending company events or performing work-related duties may be protected by workers’ comp laws, even if you’re injured outside of work. Performing tasks specified by your employer may be protected as well if you get hurt.

Specific workers’ comp laws like the Going and Coming Rule may protect your workers’ comp settlement, but find out about your state’s laws with a workers’ comp attorney.

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When Are You Covered By Workers’ Comp Outside of Work?

You’re covered by workers’ comp outside of work if you’re hurt performing work-related duties under the course and scope of employment. You can only receive benefits if you were hurt performing actions considered as work, even if you’re outside the workplace.

Fortunately, there are ways to be reimbursed for workers’ comp under these circumstances as long as you meet these criteria:

Company Events

Sometimes, employers host events like parties, employee gatherings, sports games, picnics, and other special events. If you were injured during a company event, some states consider company-sponsored events as work-related. As long as your participation benefits you professionally, you may qualify for compensation.

Consider the following questions and consult an attorney before starting your claim:

  1. Was this event sponsored by your company?
  2. Did you sign a waiver?
  3. Were you required to attend for your job?
  4. Did you expect to pay for equipment related to the event?

Although you didn’t get injured during working hours, workers’ comp applies when you’re professionally obligated to join company activities. This doesn’t have to include working but can be as casual as playing games with colleagues or having simple dinners.

Traveling For Work

Your state may allow you to collect workers’ comp if you’re traveling for work-related reasons. Be careful, because if you get hurt just through regular travel, like getting rear-ended driving to work, you may not qualify.

Certain states may allow workers’ comp if you travel due to work-related duties and get hurt. An example of such a case would be an HVAC technician getting into an auto accident traveling from job-to-job. Regular commuting may not be protected under the Going and Coming Rule.

Performing Work-Related Duties

If you’re performing work-related duties outside of work and got hurt, you may qualify for workers’ comp. What’s considered work-related depends on your state’s workers’ compensation laws and your case. As long as your injuries were directly caused by your job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation.

Injured in Company Property

You could be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if you get injured on company property outside working hours. For instance, you get hit by a car in the company’s parking lot and must seek medical attention.

Another example is you slip and fall on ice that doesn’t have a warning sign at the entrance of the company, which causes you to break your back.

All areas the employer controls should be properly maintained, and if the property caused your injury, you deserve legal representation. The employer is liable for the space and areas they control within their property.

When Are You Not Covered By Workers’ Comp Outside of Work?

Unfortunately, workers’ comp may not apply if you commute to work since most states consider all workers to carry the same risks when commuting. The rule is known as the Going and Coming Rule, which essentially states the employer is not liable for the employee’s commute to and from work.

Workers’ comp also doesn’t cover areas outside your employer’s property. For instance, you leave the company’s property to get lunch but get hurt in an auto accident outside the company’s lot. Workers’ comp may not apply to you since your employer doesn’t control or pay for the area you were injured.

In permanent or long-term injuries, there are ways to protect yourself, for instance, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA protects the employee from being fired after sustaining life-threatening injuries outside of work.

The ADA only applies if the employee did not agree to sign for termination if they can no longer perform their regular duties. A workers’ comp attorney should verify if the employee qualifies for ADA by reviewing the employee’s contract.

All states have different rules and regulations. You may still be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if your case applies and you have competent legal representation. Contact LegalASAP, and they can get you to a workers’ comp attorney who can clarify the statutes and limitations within your state.

What to Do When You Get Injured Outside of Work

In case your injury occurs outside your workplace and is eligible for workers’ comp, here is a guideline on what you should do next:

  • Dial 911 for any severe injuries you’ve sustained, whether it’s from a car accident or having a fracture from a fall.
  • Report the incident. Take pictures of the damages or hazardous areas, and find any witnesses to help you with your claim.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries aren’t severe, it’s best to get checked out and let your doctor know this was a work-related incident.
  • Contact your employer. You must inform your employer that you were injured and ask for PTO or sick leave.
  • File for workers’ compensation claim. Do so within 30 days, but according to the US Department of Labor, the deadline to file a workers’ comp claim is three years.

If you or someone you know is looking to file for workers’ comp benefits, it’s best to seek an attorney to help you.

Find a Workers’ Compensation Attorney When Injured Outside of Work

LegalASAP is allied with over 500+ firms with thousands of attorneys willing to help with your workers’ comp claim. We understand under stressful circumstances, it’s hard to get an attorney on your case. LegalASAP aims to help you find a trustworthy attorney to focus on your case.

Please fill out a free short evaluation form or call us at your convenience at 888-927-3080. We are available 24/7 and will reach out as soon as possible.

Cassandra Nguy

Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at linkedin.com