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Workers Compensation FAQ

Workers Compensation FAQ

You are a small business owner with a couple dozen employees. Last week, one of your long-time employees slipped and fell while walking through the breakroom. Now he has filed a workers’ compensation claim.

Q: How do I know whether an injured worker is covered by workers’ compensation?

A: Determining whether or not your workers are covered by workers’ compensation can sometimes be complicated. Generally, there are two main factors that determine covered status: first, whether the person is an employee (as opposed to an independent contractor, for example) and second, whether the injury occurred as a result of employment.

It should be noted that neither of these factors is an absolute guarantee that the worker will be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, depending on the rules in place in your state, some employees (such as agricultural workers) are not covered by workers’ compensation. Also, if the injured worker was intoxicated at work or intentionally injured him- or herself, the worker may not be covered by workers’ compensation.

Q: If an employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but returns to work, does the employee still get to receive workers’ compensation benefits?

A: The answer to this question is “maybe.” If the return to work enables the employee to receive wages equal to or greater than he or she was earning prior to the injury, then it is likely benefits will be stopped. If, however, the employee is still experiencing a wage loss due to his or her injury, he or she may continue to receive wage loss benefits, although the benefits will most likely be for a lesser amount.

Q: Can an employee recover workers’ compensation benefits, no matter what he or she did, because it is a “no-fault” system?

A: No. Although most injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, that does not mean that employees have free reign to injure themselves, or act in any manner in which they choose, and then collect benefits. Generally, if an employee sustains injures as a result of intoxication or illegal drug use, benefits may not be payable.

Q: Can an employee recover workers’ compensation benefits, even if he or she was not actually at the workplace when injured?

A: The answer to this question will depend on the laws in your particular state, and the facts of the specific case. Generally speaking, if the injury “arises out of” and occurs “within the scope of employment,” it is covered. For example, if an employee is a traveling salesperson and is injured in the hotel where he or she is staying for business purposes, compensation may be appropriately paid.

Similarly, if an employee is running an errand that takes him or her outside of the workplace, at the request of the employer, compensation benefits may be payable if an injury occurs in the course of running that errand. If the employee is on a business errand, but has stopped or deviated from that errand for personal reasons, then a closer examination of the rules and facts is necessary.

Finally, employees injured while attending an employer-sponsored recreational event, like a company picnic or outing, may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits even though they were not physically on the employer’s premises.

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It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.