When Accidents Happen While in “Course and Scope” of Employment

in Legal Info

workers compensation, work accident

Sometimes accidents in the workplace are unavoidable. Determining if the accident falls under Worker’s Compensation or the employer’s liability insurance requires an investigation into the accident. Lawyers analyze all of the course and scope issues to ensure all angles of liability have been addressed. When you hire a lawyer for your case, they will look at two different analysis points – Worker’s Compensation and Respondeat Superior.

The Analysis

The first and second analysis is extremely important when handling a course and scope of employment injury case. Through the analysis, a lawyer can help determine what you are eligible for in terms of Worker’s Compensation and even Respondeat Superior. There are proper protocols that lawyers who handle these types of cases follow to ensure that they have not missed any angle in which the injured could receive compensation.

workers compensation, worksite accident

First Analysis – Worker’s Compensation

When taking a civil case involving a potential Worker’s Compensation claim, a lawyer will ask you a pretty standard set of questions. These questions will help them identify the potential of a Worker’s Compensation claim for your injuries. It is always in your best interest to answer these questions as honestly as possible, or it could hurt your personal injury case.

Were you on the property of your place of employment or near it when the injury occurred?
The purpose of this question is to determine if you were on the premises of the employment location, including adjacent areas. For example, did the accident occur in the parking lot? This accident could still be considered a workplace injury, even if it occurred before clocking in or reaching your workstation.

Were you handling errands for your employer at the time of your injury?
When an employee is assigned a task from the employer, even ones away from the premises, these are considered to be coverable under Worker’s Compensation coverage.

Were you on your way to work at the time of the accident, and does the employer reimburse mileage?
Any contracts that include the employee’s travel time and expenses ultimately define commuting as part of the workday. When an accident or injury occurs during the commute, then it is covered by Worker’s Compensation.

Did the injury occur during a business trip?
Any injury that occurs on a business trip is considered course and scope for the duration of the trip.

Was the injury after an unusually long workday? Were you fatigued?
Suppose an employee is overly fatigued and falls asleep at the wheel due to an extended workday, injuring themselves. In that case, it could potentially be covered under Worker’s Compensation. There must be a causal nexus between the employer’s work demands and the injury.

Were you receiving work correspondence (call, text, email) at the time of the injury?
If you are on a vacation day and you take a work-related phone call that results in your injury, your employer may be exposed to tort liability.

Did your injury occur on living premises provided by the employer?
Should an employment contract stipulate that the employee must live on the employer’s premises, the employee is considered to be performing services due to the employment during the time that they are physically on the premises.

Did the injury occur in a vehicle that the employer requires you to use?
Worker’s Compensation may provide coverage if you are injured in a vehicle that you are required to drive for your job. In some cases, the requirement to have had made at least one call before the injury was required.

Was there a hazard that caused the injury related to your employment, even if you have not made it to your employment location?
Suppose a special hazard is encountered that is incidental to the injuries. In contrast, at the workplace and the injuries sustained are caused by that hazard. In that case, it is covered by Worker’s Compensation.

Was injury sustained while commuting between two work locations?
When it comes to dual-purpose locations, if the employee’s home doubles as a secondary location and injury occur, it must be proven that the employee needed to work there out of more than convenience.

workers compensation, work accident

Second Analysis – Respondeat Superior

Not every person who is injured at their place of employment understands that they may be eligible for compensation. Some may even believe that since they don’t qualify for Worker’s Compensation, they have no case. That is not always true. There is another person liable in the scenario – the employer. The employer should have the business covered by liability insurance because of situations like this, especially when they are found at fault.

Many of the same questions lawyers as for Respondeat Superior are the same for Worker’s Compensation claims. The employer can be found liable even if there are no grounds for a Worker’s Compensation claim.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

While it is standard practice for an employer and business to provide Worker’s Compensation insurance, the second part of the employer’s safety net is an Employer’s Liability policy. This policy gives the business owner protection if the business is blamed for an employee’s injury or if an illness occurs.

These policies also pay the settlement or judgment against the employer when the employee wins their case in court. Being aware of the policies an employer has can help a lawyer ensure that their client is compensated correctly. This policy also kicks in if Worker’s Compensation pays a claim, but punitive damages have been awarded due to negligence.

Why You Need A Lawyer for Course and Scope Cases

Each state has its own laws when it comes to Worker’s Compensation and employer liability. Legal professionals who handle these cases in your area understand the specifics and know exactly what to ask. TorkLaw has experienced lawyers who regularly handle Course and Scope cases, helping injured employees receive Worker’s Compensation or individual payouts from their employer’s liability insurance company.

If you are unsure if your injury could fall into course and scope for employment, call our legal professionals today for your free case consultation.

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