Have questions about whether you can claim benefits for a work injury? Call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman to get the answers you need and deserve today. We help clients throughout the state of Delaware as our offices are conveniently located in Newark, Wilmington, and Seaford.
Many people who are injured and need workers’ compensation benefits to pay for their medical expenses and lost income quickly realize that the process of receiving these benefits is not as clear-cut as they imagined. This is especially true if the injury happened away from the main work site, or when the employee was not actively engaged in a work task at that moment. As a result, they may have several questions and concerns about how the workers’ compensation process works and whether or not they may qualify for these benefits.
Here are four frequently asked questions that folks often have about whether they can file a claim
1. Can I get workers’ compensation if I already clocked out?
When a worker is injured while on the clock at work, it can be easier to determine that they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you are a worker who was on your way out the door and already clocked out when you suffered your injury, you may be wondering if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured on the company’s premises, such as the parking lot, on the sidewalk, or in the breakroom, even if you were not officially on the clock at the time. (Tickles v. PNC Bank). If the parking lot or sidewalk was owned and maintained by the business, or if you were engaged in some kind of work-related activity at the time (such as dropping off a piece of mail on your way out the door), then you could have a workers’ compensation claim in Delaware.
If your workers’ compensation attorney determines that you cannot file for workers’ compensation for an injury you obtained while off the clock, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit instead. This process is a little different, but it will hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions which resulted in your accident and injuries. In order to file a personal injury lawsuit, consider speaking with a Delaware personal injury lawyer from our firm right away. We will go over the ins and outs of what this process entails and whether or not you have a viable lawsuit.
2. Can I get workers’ compensation if I’m on lunch break?
Since almost every employer provides lunch breaks to employees, this is a popular question.. This is also a complicated question, as it depends on the facts and circumstances of your accident and injuries. If your company does not require you to clock out while you are on lunch and you are still on the premises, there is a high likelihood that you will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You also have a chance of receiving workers’ compensation if you are off the clock but still on your employer’s premises when you are injured. The reason for this is because lunch breaks are typically required, and your job includes these lunch breaks to give you a few minutes to hydrate, eat, use the restroom, and whatever else you need to do that you cannot do any other time.
However, if you decide to go try out a new pizza restaurant down the road from your job with some coworkers on your lunch break and are hurt while there, this is typically not a situation that will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. You should be clocked out, away from your work premises, and not doing anything work-related during this time. You may be able to file a premises liability claim against the restaurant, however.
3. Can I get workers’ compensation if I’m injured while commuting?
If you are commuting to and from work and are injured, you generally cannot get workers’ compensation benefits. However, if driving/traveling is part of your job description and you suffer an injury while doing so, you may be eligible to file for workers’ compensation. Some examples of jobs where you may receive workers’ compensation benefits for injuries obtained during commuting include:
- Home delivery professional
- Parts or goods delivery driver
- Truck driver
- UPS/ FedEx/ USPS postal/ package worker
- HVAC technician
- Internet or cable installer
- Home repair person
As you can see, you must be engaged in specific duties that benefit your employer to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This may include running errands, delivering and picking up products, or taking another employee to the hospital.
Does it matter if I’m in a company vehicle?
It might. If you take the company car on a personal trip, then no: it won’t be covered. But if you’re using a company car for anything work-related, even if it’s outside of normal working hours or off premises, then you could be covered.
4. Can I get workers’ compensation if I’m on a business trip?
If you are on a business trip when you get hurt, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer may require all or certain employees to fly to another state or drive to another city and be part of a yearly work conference or workshops. If you are injured during this trip, you’ll need proof that your employer required you to be there. In addition, there is a possibility that you do not even have to be participating in a “work-related” project or task at the time you were injured to qualify for workers’ compensation.
If you suffer injuries and are not sure if you should file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, contact a Delaware attorney from Silverman, McDonald & Friedman.. Our team represents injury victims across the state, and knows and understands that you may have a lot of questions; we are glad to share our knowledge and experience with you. We always have your best interests in mind and will help you decide what legal options may be best for you. Call our office or complete our contact form to discuss your accident and injuries today. We will gladly schedule your meeting at one of our offices in Wilmington, Seaford, or Newark.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.