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What Does “Job Related” Mean for Injured Workers?

Workers compensation is designed to provide California workers with prompt compensation for workplace injuries regardless of fault. The only requirement is that the injury be work-related. In the vast majority of cases, meeting this requirement is fairly straightforward. However, in some situations, the issue of whether an injury was work-related can become contentious.

It is important for employees to understand that workers compensation rights are not necessarily limited to injuries that occur at the employer’s place of business. Determining coverage for traveling workers and other employees who do not always have a fixed worksite can be complicated. Generally, there is no coverage for injuries sustained while commuting to and from work. However, there are some exceptions:

  • If you have no fixed job site or are otherwise a traveling employee, your commute may be covered.
  • If you are on an assignment for your employer, such as stopping to pick up papers or to drop off office mail on your way to or from your worksite, you may be covered.
  • If your employer pays you for your travel time and/or provides a company car, your commute may be covered under workers’ compensation.

The scope of the term “job related” tends to vary a great deal depending on the individual employee’s position and job duties. Even injuries sustained at employer-sponsored social functions may be compensable under certain circumstances. The lesson to take away is that you should not assume you don’t qualify for workers compensation simply because your injury did not occur in a typical work setting. Even if your employer or its insurer has denied your claim, an experienced workers compensation attorney in California can evaluate the facts to determine if you may have a right to compensation.

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