If you are injured in Pennsylvania, you are entitled Workers’ Compensation benefits if the injury occurred while you were in the course and scope of their employment. This may seem like an easy assessment: Was I hurt? Yes. Was I working at the time? Yes. Ok, then I am entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, the “course and scope” issue is not always that simple, and in fact, is the basis for a lot of Workers’ Compensation litigation. This blog will give you a better understanding of the different issues and gray areas we see on a daily basis. If there is even a question of whether you are covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, you should contact us immediately. We can answer any questions you may have and talking to us is free.
Yes, this has happened. A prospective employee was injured on the employer’s premises during the application process. The Court found that the injury was not within the course and scope of employment because the individual was not an employee at the time of his/her injury. On the other hand, the employee who quit but was then injured when emptying personal items from the company van at the direction of his manager, was found to be in the course and scope of his employment. Each case is very fact-specific.
Unfortunately, people are injured every day in motor vehicle accidents. Are you entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident on the way to work, or coming home? As a general rule, no. You are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits if you are injured commuting to and from work because this would be considered outside the course and scope of employment. However, there are important exceptions to this rule that puts a lot of these injuries in the course and scope of employment. Those exceptions are:
Most cases fall under the first exception, when there is no fixed place of work. Workers’ Compensation separates stationary (fixed) employees from traveling employee. An obvious example of a traveling employee is a traveling salesman or saleswoman. They are not going to an office building every day, and therefore, if they are injured after leaving home and going to a sales pitch, they are still within the course and scope of their employment and will receive Workers’ Compensation.
However, this exception goes further than you may think. This exception may also include an HVAC technician, cable installer, construction worker, landscaper, etc. Every case will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your employment, but it will ultimately boil down to whether you are required to travel in order to do your job. Take the HVAC technician for example. The HVAC technician has a specific place of business that he may report to every couple of days. He drives a company van and keeps the van in his driveway. Most days, he drives straight from home to his first job then bounces to difference jobs throughout the day and drives straight home after his last job of the day. If he is involved in a motor vehicle accident when traveling from home to his first job, or from his last job to home, resulting in injuries, he will fall under the purview of the Workers’ Compensation Act. In contrast, a telemarketer, who drives to and from the same office building every day, is a stationary employee. If the telemarketer is involved in a motor vehicle accident on the way to work, or on the way home, he is not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Many times, a client calls us and says they were injured, one way or another, and believes he or she should be getting Workers’ Compensation but the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier denied their claim, telling them they were not in the course and scope of their employment or not covered because they were traveling to/from work. In our many years of experience, insurance adjusters are wrong the majority of the time. Insurance adjusters are not attorneys and do not know the law like we do. If you were injured, do not take the insurance adjuster’s word for it, call us.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work-related accident, call us at (215) 999-1443 or contact us by using the assistant or by filling out our contact form. The initial Workers’ Compensation consultation is free-of-charge
Please fill out the form on the right, below, so that we can learn more about your worker compensation needs. We will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your matter in more detail.2001 Market Street, Suite 3400