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When is my injury covered by workers' compensation?


Since working takes up such a large portion of North Carolina workers' days, they may end up forming friendships with the people with whom they work and engage in conversations or horse around with each other on the job. This can be expected-no one works all day without fooling around a little with one's colleagues. Most of the time, the horseplay and joking around is harmless, but it is possible that an employee could get hurt during the course of this type of incident. Are these injuries covered by workers' compensation, as they were sustained while in the workplace, but maybe not strictly while working?

Most injuries sustained during the performance of one's job are considered to be covered by workers' compensation insurance. This means that any tasks performed for an employer or in furtherance of one's employment are usually covered by workers' compensation, but also can include injuries on a truck or at other locations related to the job. But what happens when these injuries are sustained while traveling to a business event or even traveling for other business-related purposes?

Determining whether the injury is work-related or not can often be complicated. Where an employee in another state was injured during lunch hour by a fellow employee who jokingly slamming him into a table, the court sided with the employee that the injury could fall under workers' compensation coverage. The court explained that the employer must show that employee actually intended to injure the other employee in order to escape liability. However, courts are reluctant to accept claims where employees file a workers' compensation claim for psychological injuries sustained from the employee's personal life, as those injuries may not be directly related to her job.

Figuring out what falls within the scope of an injury sustained on the job can often be difficult and injured North Carolina employees may become discouraged; however, employees should not presumptively rule out their injuries as non-work-related. It is an injured employee's right to file a workers' compensation claim and he or she can consider consulting an attorney for guidance on the complexities of the matter.

Source: Business Management Daily, "Know which personal injuries qualify for workers' comp.," accessed March 2, 2015

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