Every year, XYZ Enterprises sponsored a company picnic for all of its employees. While the event was considered a reward to employees for their hard work, the company also used it as a way to build team spirit. One of the operations managers, Dan, handled organizing the picnic. On the day of the event, Dan slipped and broke his leg in three places while carrying cases of soft drinks to the picnic area. It seemed impossible that someone could actually be hurt at a company picnic, but it happens. He was unable to work for several months until surgeries and physical therapy restored his ability to walk well enough to attend work.
Who’s responsible for paying Dan’s medical bills and covering his lost wages? He might pursue one of the following two paths.
Workers’ Compensation May Apply
Employees injured at work or while performing tasks for their employer may be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The question here becomes, “Was the worker acting ‘out of and in the course of employment.’”
It may seem that attendance at a company picnic is not a task done ‘in the course of employment.’ However, ask yourself the following questions:
- Was the employee hurt at a company picnic held on company property?
- Were employees required to attend?
- Did the injury occur during regular working hours?
- Did the employer benefit from the event or the employee’s participation?
Disputes about workers’ compensation benefits may arise even if all the questions above can be answered in the affirmative. Since state laws vary, some states may consider being hurt at a company picnic to be a work-related event. Other states may not.
In Dan’s case, he was injured off company property at an after-hours event. However, Dan’s boss expected him to attend as the organizer. Additionally, the picnic was considered a ‘team-building’ exercise. He may or may not be entitled to coverage under his employer’s workers’ comp insurance. Because his injury occurred at a company picnic, Dan definitely should talk to an attorney with workers’ compensation experience.
Personal Injury Claims Could Be Made
Dan and his lawyer may consider workers’ comp benefits or they may consider pursuing a personal injury claim. In fact, Dan could consider suing several parties depending on how he was hurt at the company picnic.
The event was not held on company property, but instead was held at a party venue. Dan could sue the owners of the venue. He may have fallen because of a slippery path, uneven ground, or some other unsafe condition.
However, Dan may also consider suing his employer. It’s possible that the employer was negligent in some way that contributed to Dan’s accident.
Whether You Were Hurt at a Company Picnic or On-the-Job, Give Us a Call.
If you are interested in the matters discussed in this blog, be sure to call us for a free consultation or leave a comment.
At the Dailey Law Firm, P.C., our team of skilled lawyers and professionals provide sound and current legal representation that you need. Call us at 844-342-5353 to set up a free consultation or use the Contact Form on our website. There’s no fee for personal injury cases unless we win.
We represent clients throughout the entire United States. You can reach us online or visit one of our offices in Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; or Valparaiso, Indiana.