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Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits for an “Off the Clock” Injury?

Some injuries at work are more complicated than others. For instance, if you are asked to come in and pick something up for or from your boss and are injured on the premises, you may wonder if you are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. While you were not on the clock, you were at your place of work and your actions were in benefit of the employer. In a lot of claims like this, you will have a good case for compensation. However, the devil is in the details when it comes to such claims.

The first question is whether it was in the scope of your employment or not. For instance, if you stopped in the office because you left your cell phone on your desk, it was not in the interest of your employer nor was it in the scope of your employment. However, running an errand for your boss or coming in to prepare for your next shift is a different story. In those cases, you would not have been on the premises and would not have been injured had it not been for your employment.

In most states, these benefits cover medical costs and lost wages when an employee is injured during the course of their employment. There are some exceptions to this general rule.

“Off the Clock” Exceptions

The law surrounding Workers’ Compensation is rarely black and white. The law tows the line between protecting the rights of workers while also looking out for the best interest of the company as a whole. Some of the exceptions for injuries that are technically off the clock but are still covered by Workers’ Compensation include:

  • Employer Benefits. If the employer is directly benefiting from the actions taken by the employee, they are covered. This includes when they have to travel between locations for work, but does not include regular commuting. For instance, traveling between a different location and a hotel is covered but driving to work from your home does not.
  • Special Mission. If your employer asks you to stop to drop off paperwork on your way home, that commute is now covered by Workers’ Compensation, especially when it takes them off their normal route.
  • Areas Controlled by Company. While a worker is not covered when they are driving to work, they are covered when they are walking back to their vehicle. This is because the company owes employees a duty of care in overseeing those common areas.

Working outside of regular business hours and coming by after hours are also usually covered by the exceptions. If you have been injured while off the clock but feel you still deserve compensation, contact us today. Our professionals will help you figure out your legal options.

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