Are Employee Injuries at a Work Holiday Party Compensable?

What happens when an employee gets injured while attending a work holiday party? It is a complex legal issue that depends on several variables of the victims to receive payments from a workers’ compensation policy. Each state has its own specific requirements for what types of injuries and illnesses are covered. Here are essential points to know about holiday party compensation for injured workers.

Why Work Parties Create Complexities

Work parties clearly serve a useful purpose for bringing a team together to celebrate their collective efforts. But when injuries occur during work holidays or at work parties, the situation may fall outside the definition of a work injury from insurers’ perspective. Workers’ compensation usually covers an injury or illness caused by the job or one that occurs during work hours at the company workplace.

A typical workers’ compensation claim involves someone getting injured while running an errand for their supervisor. But what about getting into an accident on the way to a company party? That’s where there’s a grey area that may best be understood through legal assistance. A workers’ compensation policy often states that it does not cover accidents when the employee is not working. Coverage also usually does not include injuries when driving to or from work.

If the party is at another location besides company property, it may not be considered work by the insurance company. Workers’ compensation policies may not cover lunch breaks or while the employee is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Traditionally it’s been common for company parties to serve wine or beer. Many companies throw these parties without thinking about the consequences of accidents.

The location of the party is important because if it is at your work location, it might be covered by your workers’ compensation policy. An injury caused by unsafe conditions at a work-related event might be covered, even if it occurred in a different location than the regular workplace. Coverage may depend on who hosted the party and whether or not employee attendance was mandatory. Workers’ compensation might cover an employee who helps prepare food for the party and gets injured in the kitchen.

How to Handle a Holiday Party Injury

If you are injured at a work holiday party, your first concern should be to remain calm. You should report the injury to your employer and file the claim with the insurer within 120 days to be considered for compensation. Let your employer know the date, time, and type of injury that occurred. After several weeks the insurer will review the claim and then either approve or deny it.

Some employees seek legal assistance, which can help a case go more smoothly. Since work parties raise questions about coverage, you may need an attorney who has experience with similar cases. You will also likely deal with a doctor who gives you instructions for medical treatment.

When you file an injury claim to seek work holiday party compensation, you must work with seasoned professionals. As an independent insurance agency, we work with a wide range of carriers to ensure you get the policy that meets your needs. Serving Houston, Texas, and beyond, contact us at J Archer Insurance Group today.

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