Getting Hurt Off-Duty
Real life is messy. Not every accident occurs while you are doing your regular job, in the regular manner, at the regular time, and at the regular place. Many injured workers think that their injury is not covered under workers’ compensation, just because of some oddity. The attorneys at Ricci Law Firm want to bust some common myths:
Myth 1: If I was hurt off premises, I am not covered.
FALSE! Just because your injury occurred somewhere other than your physical place of employment does NOT mean you cannot collect workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits arise for any accident “arising out of” the employment, and “in the course of” the employment. So do you think your car accident is not covered, just because you were off premises and driving from one job to another? Think again; in most cases, such an accident is covered under workers’ compensation in North Carolina. Same goes for injuries occurring when working remotely or at a customer’s facility. Ricci Law Firm regularly reviews the facts of off-premises accidents and helps injured workers determine if their claim is compensable.
Myth 2: If I was hurt while off the clock, I am not covered.
FALSE! Just because your injury occurred while you were not clocked in or getting paid does NOT mean you are barred from getting workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances, you still would be covered under workers’ compensation if, at the time of the injury, you were doing something to benefit the employer – even if you were doing it for free! These rules are complicated and have some exceptions, so the attorneys at Ricci Law Firm can help you determine if your accident is compensable even if you were off the clock.
Myth 3: If I was hurt at a company party, I am not covered.
FALSE AGAIN! Injuries occurring during company dinners, parties, picnics, and team-building events can be covered under workers’ compensation, depending on the circumstances. The attorneys at Ricci Law Firm can help you determine how the courts may assess your situation under some considerations we call Chilton factors:
- Did the employer sponsor the event?
- Was attendance at the event really voluntary?
- Was there some degree of encouragement to attend evidenced by such factors as:
- taking a record of attendance;
- paying for the time spent;
- requiring the employee to work if he/she did not attend; or
- maintaining a known custom of attending?
- Did the employer finance the occasion to a substantial extent?
- Did the employees regard the event as an employment benefit to which they were entitled as of right?
- Did the employer benefit from the event, not merely in a vague way through better morale and good will, but through such tangible advantages as having an opportunity to make speeches and awards?
The answers to the above questions all play into whether an injury during an event is compensable in North Carolina, but the legal issues are complicated. For these and other questions, the attorneys at Ricci Law Firm review cases at no cost to determine if your injury (even an injury off duty, off premises, or at an event) may be covered under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.