More companies are employing workers who perform their duties off-site and not on the actual premises of the business. The modern workforce is flexible and fluid, and many wonder how this affects their Workers’ Compensation coverage. Does Workers’ Compensation cover you if you become injured off-site from your workplace? It depends.
The Nature of the Modern Workplace
Many Oklahoma workers are employed in a traditional work setting. They drive to work, perform their duties on an office or on the factory floor for a specific time, then return home after their shift. A growing number of people work in somewhat different circumstances.
- Some drive to work, pick up a company vehicle and drive to an off-site location to work on company equipment or the property of a third-party client. They return later, drop off the company vehicle, and take their car home. A number of workers actually use the company car to commute from home to their jobs and to other locations.
- A surprising number of people work from home. They report to their employer digitally or by phone and perform their tasks online. They seldom need to show up at the “home office.” Their commute may be from the living room or kitchen to a home office just down the hall.
- Still, others travel and spend extended time away from the company’s property. They drive or fly long distances to perform their tasks in neutral locations, on another company’s property, or at a branch location of their own employer.
To meet these varying situations, Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation is worded accordingly. Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation law covers workers if they are injured during “the scope of their employment.” Other explanations call this being “on the clock” or “on the job.” As you can see above, some workers are on the clock for their employer even when far away from the company headquarters. If you were injured while performing a job-related task assigned to you by your employer, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Some Related Factors Apply
Of course, there are always unique circumstances and factors that make simple determinations almost impossible. Some types of workers may have vague lines between when they actually begin and cease working. Some troubling questions can arise, such as:
- Does my day begin when I pull onto company property or when I clock in for work?
- Am I covered on breaks or at lunchtime if I leave company property?
- Am I covered by Workers’ Compensation while traveling for work?
- If I travel for work, am I covered in my hotel or when commuting to a client’s place of business?
In most circumstances, Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation does not protect you when commuting to and from work. The U.S. Department of Labor terms this “portal to portal” travel when you are considered to be on your own time. However, there are exemptions to this: if you have no fixed worksite, perform job-related tasks that benefit your employer during your commute, or drive a company vehicle during your commute, any injury you incur may still be covered.
Partnering with an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney is Critical
As you can see, there are many complexities with if and how Workers’ Compensation covers injuries in off-site work situations – and we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. What about company events, paid company dinners, special assignments, and other out-of-the-ordinary situations? The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission addresses these situations when questions arise concerning a worker’s benefits and qualifying or disqualifying factors. You need a seasoned attorney who understands the law and can argue effectively on your behalf to see you get what you deserve.
Have you recently been injured while working off-site for your employer? Are there problems with your claim or benefits? If you need help pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim, call us today at (918) 582-2500 or complete the contact form online to request a free consultation.