People who suffer an accident at work are guaranteed benefits for their medical costs and lost wages under the workers’ compensation system. However, workers’ compensation does not often apply to injuries that happen “off the clock” such as on an employee’s drive to work or commute home. In these cases, employees seeking benefits may need to prove that they were acting on behalf of an employer when the injury occurred.
When “Off the Clock” Employees May Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation laws do not require an employee to be “clocked in” or even on the employer’s premises for an injury to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Employees are approved or denied benefits based on whether they were within the scope of their employment at the time of injury. For example, employees who aren’t on the clock can still receive benefits if their injuries occurred:
During a special mission.
An employer may make a request for an employee to run an errand before or after his shift begins such as picking up coffee for a meeting or dropping off paperwork to a client on his way home. If the employee is performing a work-related mission, he is covered by workers’ compensation for the entirety of the journey.
On an area controlled by the employer.
Employees can receive workers’ compensation for injuries in areas outside the workplace that are owned or controlled by an employer—in the company parking lot, the employer’s offsite lunchroom, or another area that is considered an extension of the workplace.
While on call.
Some employees, including doctors and firefighters, are required to remain “on call” outside of regular business hours. If the employee is on call, he is under the control of the employer and is eligible for workers’ compensation if he is injured while performing work-related activities.
During an after-hours visit.
Employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation for injuries to non-scheduled employees that occur after-hours. For example, a scheduled employee may receive a ride to or from work from another employee who has the day off. If the unscheduled employee is injured in the process of picking up or dropping off the scheduled employee, the employer may be liable for the cost.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Rhode Island?
If you've been hurt at work you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help work injury victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.