January 25, 2024
personal injury

Alabama’s workers’ compensation program is “no-fault.” That means that in most cases, people who are injured working are still eligible to apply for and receive benefits even if their negligence contributed to their injury. The program is inclusive and covers many scenarios, injuries, and workers, but it’s only cut-and-dried when injuries occur on job sites.

However, many people spend some or even most of their working days not on their employers’ premises. They may travel to other offices or job sites, they may attend team outings, or they may even be assigned to work from home. Given that work injuries can happen anywhere, what happens to people who are injured in these other locations?

Injuries Not on Work Premises Must Be Work-Related to Be Covered

Workers’ compensation differs from disability insurance coverage in one significant way: it only covers work-related injuries. If you get injured while moving a heavy cooler at your neighborhood barbecue, workers’ compensation won’t cover it (though disability insurance might if you have a policy and your injury prevents you from working).

But if you get injured while moving a heavy cooler at a company outing, there’s a good chance workers’ compensation WILL cover your injury, as you were doing something work-related (even if it was supposed to be lighthearted fun).

Other examples of injuries outside of work premises that may be covered include auto accidents while driving a company vehicle or driving your vehicle for work reasons, a muscle injury while moving heavy cargo as you make a delivery, and slipping and falling while attending a meeting at another office.

Are Work-From-Home Injuries Covered?

More and more workers can do their jobs from the comfort of their homes. And while people’s homes may seem safer and less likely to result in injuries than offices and other workplaces, injuries can occur anytime and anywhere. When people get hurt at home while working, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are unsure whether you are covered, check with one of our Alabama workers’ compensation attorneys.

Common work-from-home injuries include:

  • Repetitive Stress Injuries: Many work-from-home jobs involve the use of a keyboard and mouse or a laptop computer. When workers continually use non-ergonomic equipment, desks, and chairs, they can damage their hands, fingers, wrists, and back – making it difficult or impossible to work.
  • Slips and Falls: Some work-from-home employees may need to move away from their desks to their printers or scanners, or they may need to enter separate, quieter areas of their homes to participate in teleconferences and meetings. If they slip and fall while performing work-related duties, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Even injuries that occur during rest and meal breaks can be compensated via workers’ compensation. However, injured work-from-home employees often face heavy burdens for proving not only that their injuries occurred the way they say they did, but that they occurred during or as a result of work-related activities and obligations.

What Should You Do if You Get Injured Away From the Worksite?

When people get injured on the job, their priority should be getting medical attention. Their second priority should be reporting their injuries to their supervisor or manager.

When injuries occur away from work premises, it can be more difficult to report injuries. If you get hurt while working but you’re not at work, do your best to document your injury as thoroughly and quickly as possible. Take pictures of your injury and the objects or area that caused it. Then, alert your employer of what happened. This is typically required if you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Third-Party Liability Claims When Workers’ Comp Falls Short

In scenarios where accidents occur away from worksites or don’t qualify for workers’ compensation for other reasons, injured victims may still have legal options through third-party liability claims. These claims allow you to seek compensation from parties other than your employer who may share responsibility.

Common third-party claims can include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents While Driving for Work Purposes: You may have a case against the negligent driver or their insurer.
  • Defective Premises: If you’re hurt on another company’s unsafe property while working, they could share liability.
  • Defective Products: If a tool or equipment failure caused your injury, the manufacturer may hold responsibility.
  • Subcontractor Negligence: Other contractors’ unsafe actions could contribute to an accident.

The key is proving that negligence or liability extends beyond just your employer. By naming third parties in a personal injury lawsuit, your legal team can fight to recover damages from multiple at-fault parties. Though complex, third-party claims can provide another avenue for justice—and an experienced personal injury lawyer should help you explore compensation through every available means.

We Can Help With Your Away-From-Work Workers’ Comp Claim

Workers’ compensation claims are notoriously difficult to prove and win. That’s because the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Division works hard to reduce fraudulent claims. To do that, it tends to view all claims with skepticism and requires extensive proof. Unfortunately, that also means that many valid claims fall through the cracks.

At The Vance Law Firm, our Montgomery workers’ compensation lawyers know what the Workers’ Compensation Division looks for when reviewing claims, including claims from people who got hurt away from the job site or office. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll work hard to help you get the benefits you’re owed.

Originally published March 14, 2022.

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