Winter storm season is in full swing, and you’re constantly fielding calls from family to stay safe on the roads. While you may be able to avoid unnecessary travel, going to work will always remain necessary. But does that mean that a slip on an icy sidewalk can be considered “unavoidable?”
When Will Workers Compensation Cover a Slip or Fall on Ice?
One of the most commonly disputed factors in worker’s compensation cases is when and where an injury occurred. Generally speaking, injuries that occur on workplace property during an employee’s regular workday are covered by workers’ compensation. However, many injuries outside the scope of these rules may be covered as well.
Consider some of the following special cases that may be covered by workers' compensation:
- Commutes. Most workers’ comp insurance will provide protection under the “portal to portal” rule, meaning coverage begins when an employee arrives on work property. However, if you were asked to pick up another employee on your way to work and slipped on his front steps, you could be considered injured in the course of your employment (as you would not otherwise have been at the employee’s house).
- Parking lots. Slips and falls in parking lots are the subject of numerous workers’ comp disputes every year. If your employer owns the parking lot, then your injuries should be covered. In addition, if your employer has requested that you park off site in a lot that is not controlled by your employer, you may be covered for a fall that occurs between the offsite parking and your work premises.
- Travel. Employees who regularly travel for work are covered under workers’ comp, but so are employees who have been asked to divert their regular activities for work purposes. If your employer asks you to pick up photos or do a stock run, you are covered for the entire journey even though you are off work property.
- Lunch runs. Activities that occur on a worker’s regular lunch hour may not be covered, unless the worker is acting in the employer’s interests. A slip on the front step of a nearby restaurant may not be covered if the employee was eating alone, but should be if the employee was picking up a lunch order for a staff meeting.
The easiest way to find out whether you have a viable workers’ comp claim is to determine if your employer was benefitting from your actions at the time of the accident. If your injury occurred while you were acting in the service or best interests of your employment, you will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Want to prepare yourself to go against the workers’ comp system? Click here to read through our book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide, or click the contact link on this page to have us investigate your case.