Contributed by Markhoff & Mittman, PC
Can Traveling Workers Obtain Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
The internet has killed the travelling salesman, but that does not mean that employees have stopped ‘travelling’. Every day, thousands of employees either drive, hop on a plane, or board a train to reach their intended customer and every day, these employees are hurt on the job. In fact, studies have shown that workers who travel for their job are more likely to sustain injuries.
Unfortunately, if a worker is injured while traveling, employers and insurance companies are much more likely to question a workers’ compensation claim by asking if the injury actually occurred during the course of employment.
What Is The Scope Of Employment?
In order for a workers’ compensation claim to be valid, the injury the worker sustained must have happened while the employee was participating in activities that they would reasonably undertake as part of their employment.
For traveling workers, this might include:
Traveling From One Jobsite To Another
It doesn’t matter if an employee is in a personal vehicle or a work vehicle, if they are injured because they need to travel between separate jobsites and an accident occurs, causing them injuries, they should be covered under workers’ compensation.
Completing “Special Missions”
Generally, the time an employee spends traveling to work is not considered part of their job, however, if their employer asks them to complete a “special mission”, like running an errand on their way to work, they may be able to obtain coverage.
Doing Their Job Because Traveling Is Their Job
Truck drivers, pilots, delivery drivers, and bus drivers are just a few examples of employees whose job it is to travel and help others travel.
Typically, while on a business trip, and employee should be covered the entire time since the trip is for their job.
What If The Employee’s Actions Caused Their Accident & Injury?
Workers’ compensation insurance was specifically designed to be “no-fault” insurance. This means that it doesn’t matter who caused the accident, coverage should be offered to any injured employee.
What Should I Do If My Employer Is Contesting My Claim?
Sadly, it’s common for employers to contest their employee’s claims and while many employees are reluctant to go up against their employer, it may be difficult for them to obtain the coverage they need to pay for medical bills and lost wages otherwise.
This doesn’t mean that they have to fight for their rights alone. The best thing to do is contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can review the case, collect the evidence need to support the claim, handle the insurance company, and if needed, take the fight in front of the Workers’ Compensation Board.
Why Would The Workers’ Comp Board Get Involved?
One of the reasons that so many workers have to contact an attorney is that every year, thousands of claims are denied outright, leaving the worker to drown under medical debt. Denials happen for many reasons, like the previously mentioned reason of an employer contesting a claim, as well as mistakes made on a claim form and medical records that are unclear.
An appeal can be made, but not only does this process take months, sometimes even more than a year because of backlog, but often the appeal goes before the Workers’ Compensation Board. Given the fact that workers’ compensation law is intricate, it’s best to have an attorney by your side the entire time. In fact, statistics show that injured workers who consult with an attorney have a much higher chance of getting the coverage they need.