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Are only work-site injuries covered by workers' comp?

Since workers' compensation covers work-related injuries, many Massachusetts' residents may be under the impression it only covers injuries sustained while physically at work-those injuries incurred while in an office or at a construction site. What if a worker was injured while driving the company car to work or while at a work-related function-does workers' compensation cover these injuries?

First, a work-related injury does not have to take place at a work-site. If the injury takes place at a work-sponsored event, an employer could still be held liable for the cost of the injury and workers' compensation. However, injuries sustained while going to or coming from work are generally not covered by workers' compensation unless they fall under the exceptions mentioned below.

If someone is traveling in the company car and injured, it would likely be covered by workers' compensation. Similarly, if traveling is a major chunk of one's employment, then it is natural to say one is not only commuting to a work site. Workers such as truck drivers, pilots, state troopers, bus drivers, all have travel as a major job duty. It is safe to say then that if they are injured while driving for their job, it would be covered by workers' compensation. Even when one is using their own vehicle but is going from one job site to another within one shift when he or she is injured, it would most likely by considered a work-related injury. All the time that is being spent away on a business trip is considered within the scope of employment, so even though a conference only takes place for six hours a day, the entire time that is being spent traveling is considered job related. Even if someone is performing a task that is completely unrelated to their job but is being performed at the behest of the employer, such as walking their dog or getting coffee for them, an injury can be considered work-related.

Understanding the law surrounding work-related accidents and injuries can be complicated when one is in pain and needs to understand when their employer will cover their medical costs. It might help to speak to an experienced attorney to determine if their injury was work-related or not.

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