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Did You Fall Sick While Traveling for Work?
If you become injured or ill when you were traveling for the benefit of your employer, then your injury or sickness can be deemed work-related; and you can likely receive insurance benefits. If you are specifically looking to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will have to prove that your sickness or injury is work-related.
The work-related requirement seems like a simple rule, but it can be complicated. Here are a few scenarios for consideration.
If you become injured or ill while commuting to work, you probably aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. If, however, you are traveling for your employer, but not to your home base work site, then you are most likely covered. This would include traveling on a business trip. If you do not have a home base of operations because you are a traveling salesperson, then the injuries or illness you sustain while traveling to meet a customer will likely be covered. Also, if you become ill or injured while driving a company car on your regular commute to work, you should be covered.
The US Department of Labor says this about work-related injuries or illnesses, “You must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-related is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception specifically applies.”
To further clarify, the Labor Department states, “Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is on travel status are work-related if, at the time of the injury or illness, the employee was engaged in work activities in the interest of the employer.” The Department gives examples such as traveling to and from contacting customers, conducting job tasks, and even entertaining to discuss, transact, or promote business. For coverage, the employer must have directed the entertaining activities.
Additionally, when a traveling employee checks into a temporary residence such as a hotel, the employee is considered to have left work. When the employee starts work the next day, he is considered to have re-entered the work environment. Taking side trips on the way to work for personal reasons will not be deemed work-related.
The rules for workers’ compensation can be tricky. If an employee finds himself in circumstances where he feels his employer is treating him unfairly or further clarification is needed, an attorney should probably be sought. Please see our website for more information on workers’ compensation attorney in Wilmington and other important legal topics.
Eric writes often about the legal field. You can find his thoughts at Tumblr blog.
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