Is a Workplace Injury Outside Normal Duties Covered?

Aug 3, 2023 | Blog, Workers' Compensation

You may know that you can seek worker’s compensation for an accident that happens at work. But what if you were acting outside of your normal job duties when the accident occurred? Is it still covered?

The answer depends on the accident circumstances and whether the workplace injury relates to your job duties in any way. You may need a Virginia workplace injury attorney to help you approach this complicated case strategically and improve your chances of securing compensation. 

What Accidents Does Workers’ Compensation Cover? 

Virginia worker’s compensation typically covers work-related accidents that happen while you’re performing your job duties. They don’t have to occur at work; they can also happen while driving a work vehicle or working at an off-site location. 

But what about accidents that happen at work, but weren’t necessarily within the scope of your job duties? Your employer’s insurance company will examine the details of the accident to determine whether to cover the job injuries. The closer you can tie the accident to your job, the better chance you’ll have of securing compensation for your medical care.

Examples of Complicated Workplace Injuries

Consider this example: You normally work in the Internal Sales department, but you were helping your coworker in the External Sales department when you tripped over a trash can and broke your wrist. You weren’t necessarily completing your own job duties, but you were helping your coworker in the name of teamwork. You’ll have an easy time showing that your injury is eligible for workers’ compensation. 

In another example, say you suffered a concussion while playing softball at a company-wide picnic. While playing softball isn’t one of your job duties, your employer encouraged you to attend the picnic and organized the softball tournament. You should be able to easily show that your concussion is a work-related injury. 

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for what injuries workers’ compensation will cover. That’s why working with a Virginia workplace injury attorney is important in cases that aren’t straightforward. Your attorney can help you collect evidence that your injury occurred from a work-related accident, increasing your eligibility for compensation. 

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Horseplay? 

Horseplay is one of those gray areas in workers’ compensation laws. If you and your coworker are play-wrestling at the office or otherwise goofing around, and one of you becomes injured, is it covered by workers’ compensation? 

A decade ago, the answer probably would have been yes. Even victims of innocent horseplay could qualify for workers’ compensation. But today, the answer is more likely no. 

Virginia workers’ compensation laws don’t cover horseplay anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you are automatically disqualified from seeking compensation. You’ll want to work with a Virginia workplace attorney to frame your accident case to show that it did occur within the scope of your job duties. 

Alternatively, if your coworker was horsing around and caused your injuries, you may be able to sue them directly for your medical bills and other damages. You’d need to show that their negligence caused your accident. 

Seek Assistance from a Qualified Workers’ Compensation Attorney

So is an accident that occurred outside your normal job duties covered by workers’ compensation? The answer can vary depending on what you were doing leading up to the accident and whether you can relate it to your typical workplace duties.

Improve your chances of qualifying for workers’ comp by partnering with a skilled attorney. Call Geoff McDonald & Associates today at 804-888-8888 to schedule your free consultation with a Virginia workplace injury attorney. 

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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