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Off the clock errands: Does workers’ compensation cover injuries?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2022 | Worker's Compensation

Throughout Massachusetts, workers in any kind of job can be injured or suffer a work-related illness. In a worst-case scenario, the problems can be so severe that they cannot do the same type of work anymore. There might be a feeling of security through being covered by workers’ compensation benefits. However, it is important to be aware of the details of a workers’ compensation claim for injuries that might not have happened at work. If, for example, a person was asked to run an errand for their employer or had offsite tasks and while doing so suffered an injury, there could be a question as to whether workers’ compensation will cover for lost wages, medical care and more. People in this situation should have an idea of what obstacles they could potentially face and how to pursue the maximum in benefits.

What if the injury occurred offsite while doing tasks for the employer?

Some employers might assert that since a worker was not onsite at the time of the injury that workers’ compensation benefits should not be awarded. However, there have been several cases in Massachusetts that address this specific issue. In these cases, employees have been required to perform tasks offsite or simply been asked to do so and become injured. One was an insurance adjuster and investigator who was on call 24/7. When performing his duties offsite, he was injured. It was decided that workers are covered if they were injured while doing any type of work related to the job and had been authorized or approved of by the employer. This is true even if the injury happened when something innocuous like getting out of an automobile. This can be true for any type of job and task. Simply running an errand like going to the bank, picking up a piece of equipment or anything else that was a request of the employer and led to an injury will be covered by workers’ compensation.

What benefits can I receive under workers’ compensation?

People who are pursuing or have already been approved of workers’ compensation benefits should know what they are entitled to. There are temporary total incapacity benefits that will pay 60% of the gross weekly wage. This is for people who cannot work for six or more calendar days. These benefits can last for 156 weeks. Partial incapacity benefits pay up to 75% of the total temporary benefits. This is to help people who can work but cannot do the same job as they did before and suffer a reduced income because of it. This lasts for 260 weeks.

Those who cannot do any kind of work at all can get permanent and total incapacity benefits. This is two-thirds of the average weekly wage or a minimum of 20% of the state’s annual weekly wage (SAWW). The person gets these benefits for the duration of the disability. Medical benefits are also available. This will give the necessary care, but there are often disagreements as to how much care is needed and how long it will be necessary. People who have suffered a permanent loss of function and disfigurement get a one-time payment if they are scarred. The injury itself will determine how much is paid.

Workers injured offsite but while running errands are entitled to benefits

Running errands offsite is considered being on the job. With that, a person getting injured will have the right to ask for workers’ compensation benefits. This can be any type of injury from an auto accident to slipping on the sidewalk to being hit by a falling object. The same rules apply regarding payments and benefits.

In some cases, the employer or insurer will balk at making this payment by claiming that the worker was not at the worksite at the time. This should be fought against as it is a violation of the law. Having comprehensive, caring advice that is looking out for the injured worker’s best interests is fundamental to receiving the maximum benefits they are entitled to. As soon as the injury occurs, it is wise to have guidance to get the benefits and avoid lengthy disagreements.