When does workers’ compensation coverage begin? When you clock in for the day or when you first enter your workplace? As an example, let’s consider what happened to a man named Justin. He worked at the local hospital as a radiology technician. One morning, he was hurt in the hospital parking lot as he walked from his car to the building. Is Justin entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or not?
When the Injury Happened Matters
Workers’ compensation benefits cover work-related injuries sustained as a result of work activities. According to the Guide for Injured Workers prepared by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission:
“Injuries occurring while the employee is in a parking lot or other area adjacent to the employer’s place of business, while reporting for a shift or leaving at the end of a shift, are typically not covered;” (emphasis added)
Using Justin as an example, he was clearly arriving for work. His shift had not begun yet so he may not be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has clarified this exception and found injuries which occur on the employer’s premises in designated parking areas are compensable. Thus, Justin should review his options with an attorney given that just reading the Guide for Injured Workers would inform Justin that his injury may not be covered.
Where the Injury Happened is Important, Too.
Parking lots are specifically pointed out in the Guide for Injured Workers. Generally, someone who is just walking around in their employer’s parking lot or near their workplace is not covered by workers’ compensation law.
In Justin’s case, he was in his employer’s parking lot at the time of the injury. He probably is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Still, he should discuss his matter with an Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyer.
Let’s say Justin worked in a parking garage and was injured while performing his job. In this situation, he is more likely to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits since the parking lot is his workplace. Other similar occupations that may be workers’-comp-eligible include valet parking attendants, mechanics, and transportation workers.
Also, on-the-job injuries sometimes occur during an employee’s authorized work break. As long as the incident happened inside the workplace, the worker may be eligible for workers’ comp.
It’s a Complicated Question
Instead of just assuming you have nowhere to go for help, call the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits or other types of compensation.