Workers’ Compensation Issues Affecting Traveling Employees

In order to have a valid workers’ compensation claim, an employee must show that the injury arose out of and in the course of his or her employment. While an employee with a fixed place of employment is generally not covered by workers’ compensation for accidents and injuries that occur while traveling to and from work or going through his or her day-to-day activities, an employee with no fixed place of employment, such as a flight attendant, or an employee on a business trip, will be entitled to workers’ compensation for accidents and injuries occurring during day-to-day activities if it was reasonably foreseeable that the activity would be done while traveling. Likewise, an employee that is away from his or her home office on a mandated business trip will also be entitled to workers’ compensation for injuries that would typically not be covered if they had happened while at home. Moreover, courts have generally given a very liberal interpretation of what it means to occur “in the course of employment” in the context of a traveling employee.

For example, a flight attendant that slips on ice in a parking lot while on a layover is likely entitled to workers’ compensation because it is reasonably foreseeable that the flight attendant would need to walk outside while on his or her layover. Similarly, a flight attendant on layover that is injured in a hotel or at a restaurant is likely entitled to workers’ compensation because it is reasonably foreseeable that the employee would need to eat a meal and stay in a hotel while on layover. On the other hand, an employee that slips on the ice while walking to his or her car following a day in the office or injuries himself at a restaurant while out for lunch would not be entitled to workers’ compensation because the activity is not “in the course” of employment.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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