Is my Injury work related?
Philadelphia work injury attorneys at PearsonKoutcher, LLP explain how injuries that occur outside of a job site are considered work related. One of the key elements for an injured worker to prove when pursuing a claim for workers compensation benefits is that the accident resulting in an injury occurred while in the “course and scope of employment”. In general, an employee must prove that they were injured when actually engaged in furthering the employer’s business or affairs whether on or off a work premises, or even though the employee was not actually engaged in furthering the employer’s business or affairs when injured but was on the business premises, as required by the nature of the employment to be on the premises and the injury was caused by a condition of the premises or by the operation of the employer’s business or affairs.
Most of the disputes surrounding whether an employee was injured while furthering the affairs or business of the employer occur when analyzing the activity of the employee when the accident occurred. Courts assign a liberal interpretation whether an employee was in the course and scope of their employment when the accident occurred.
Arguments can be made that employees who participate in company-sponsored social, recreational or athletic events are injured while furthering the affairs of an employer. Arguments can be made that an employee on a break performing activities considered “personal comfort” are within the course and scope of employment. This includes activities such as eating and restroom breaks. Arguments can even be made that slight deviations from employment during the work day are within the course and scope of employment. For instance, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has determined that an employee who was injured while trying to touch a basketball rim on the driveway of a customer to whom he was delivering furniture was considered a “slight deviation” from the course of employment.
It is important to remember that each case must be analyzed based upon its unique set of facts and circumstances. Distinctions can be made between employees who travel and employees who are stationary due to the nature of their employment. Distinctions can further be made whether the employer has a specific policy against the activity which caused the injury and if the employer specifically warns the employee not to participate in the activity causing the injury. A recent Commonwealth Court case held that and an employee who decided to sledgehammer a bowling ball and sustained an eye injury, after being told to “knock it off” by his boss, was not injured in the course and scope of employment for “violating a positive work order” of the employer. If there is any question whether the activity causing an injury is considered in the course and scope of employment typically the workers compensation insurance carrier will deny the claim for workers compensation benefits. Contact the Philadelphia work injury and accident lawyers at PearsonKoutcher, LLP to let our decades of experience work for you to establish that the activity you were performing for your employer or was in fact work related.
On behalf of
Jonathan B. Koutcher, Esquire
Email Jon: [email protected]