Work events, retreats, and other work functions are meant to increase team bonding, teach workers important information, and help improve the experience of working at a particular company. However, many work outings may involve physical activities or even alcohol – and sometimes these functions end in disaster.
If you were injured at a company softball game, retreat, or Christmas party, it may not be clear whether this counts as a “work-related injury.” Can you sue your employer? Can you file for workers’ compensation? The Charlotte workers’ compensation and workplace injury lawyers at the Ramsay Law Firm explain the law in North Carolina. If you or a loved one was injured at a work function, call our law offices today for a free consultation on your case. Our number is (704) 376-1616.
Can You File for Workers’ Comp If You Are Injured at a Work Party in NC?
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to help injured workers continue to receive wages, get medical care paid for, and get back to work after they recover. To this end, workers’ compensation covers “work-related” injuries or conditions. The benefits paid through workers’ compensation often include any medical expenses tied to your injury and replacement wages totaling up to two-thirds of your normal wage. Before getting these benefits, you may be asked to prove that your injuries were indeed work-related.
The time spent at a work function is tricky, because things like parties and retreats do not obviously occur “on-the-clock” as part of your job. However, many work retreats, parties, or even things like sports leagues are still part of your job. The culture of your office or workplace may demand that you participate in these events. More explicit instructions from your boss or manager may dictate attendance or participation at some of these events, especially for things like educational or team-building events.
When you attend an event like this, you may still be participating in work activities. This means that any injuries sustained at these events would be work-related. Even if you are celebrating at your annual holiday party or having a few beers during your weekly softball games, you could still be, effectively, at work.
Injuries sustained during any of these events have a potential to qualify you for workers’ compensation claims.
Qualifying for Workers’ Comp at an Office Party
Just because the work party is somewhat “work-related” does not automatically mean it qualifies for workers’ comp if you were injured at the event. In North Carolina, the rules are a bit stricter than in other states. The party must have certain factors that make it related enough to work before workers’ comp will accept your claim. In particular, the event must have had one of these features to qualify you for workers’ comp:
- The event took place on company property during business hours. After-hours parties or off-site parties likely will not qualify you for workers’ compensation unless they have another feature on this list.
- The event was mandatory. Required offsite training, retreats, or outings should still allow you to claim workers’ compensation, no matter where or when the event was held.
- The activities or event benefitted the employer. If you were there simply for team bonding or so your employer could get to know you all better, it may not qualify. However, if you were undergoing job training, education, networking for sales, or performing other activities that benefit your boss, the event may be covered.
- Your employer paid for the event. In many cases, this is a contributing factor to show it was still a “work event,” but this alone may not be enough to prove you have a workers’ comp claim.
Talk to an attorney about the specific facts surrounding your workplace injury. If you were injured at a qualifying event, workers’ compensation may be available to help you with medical expenses and help provide you and your family with ongoing payments while you are unable to work.
If your injury is not covered by workers’ compensation, you may need to file a personal injury suit for your injuries. This may mean suing the venue where the event took place or suing your employer using other legal grounds. The attorneys at the Ramsay Law Firm not only handle workers’ compensation claims, but also workplace injury and other personal injury cases, and may be able to guide you through the best route to recover in your case.
Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The Charlotte, North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Ramsay Law Firm may be able to take your case and help you file your workers’ comp claims and denial appeals. If you were injured at a work party, work event, or outing with your coworkers, talk to an attorney today to see if your event may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits. Call our law offices today at (704) 376-1616 to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.