Oklahoma workers’ compensation covers injuries workers sustain during their job and within the scope of their employment. As long as the employee was performing a task for the benefit of their employer when the injury occurred, the injury is covered by workers’ compensation. Even if a worker causes their own injury, they are still eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, some injuries are not covered.
Which Injuries Are Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Most injuries that are not covered by workers’ compensation fall into five general categories:
- Injury During Commute
- Injury at an Off-Site Work Event
- Injury Sustained While Joking or “Horsing” Around
- Injury During a “Break”
- Injury Sustained While Impaired on the Job
Injured During the Morning Commute:
When an employee sustains an injury during their commute to or from a fixed worksite, the injury will typically not qualify for workers’ compensation. However, if the employee has no fixed worksite, performs job duties or tasks that benefit their employer during their commute, or drives a company vehicle during the commute when the incident occurs, the injury may be covered by workers’ compensation.
Injured During a Work Event Off-Site:
When an employee is injured during an off-site work event (from holiday parties to team-building field trips), the injury does not typically qualify them for workers’ compensation. However, if the employer required attendance at the off-site event or if the employer benefitted from the employee’s presence at the off-site work event, the injury is eligible for worker’s compensation.
Injured While “Messing Around,” Joking, or Fighting at Work:
When an employee sustains an injury while fighting, joking around, or otherwise functioning outside their expected job duties, they are generally not eligible for workers’ compensation. Since the activity being engaged in at the time of the injury does not fall inside the employee’s job duties, the injury would be seen as ineligible for compensation. However, if the employer allowed similar behavior regularly, this could create an exception and leave the employee eligible for benefits. When the injuries sustained result from fighting in the workplace, they’re generally not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits unless the fight itself involves a work issue.
Injured During a “Break” or Lunch:
When a worker is injured during a break or a meal period, during which they left the job site, the injury is generally not covered (even if they are still on the clock). However, there are exceptions to the general rule. For example, if the employee left the office or job site to pick up food for a company meeting and sustained an injury, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, injuries that employees sustain while they are on-site during their breaks or lunches (like in the breakroom or conference room, etc.) are also covered under workers’ compensation.
Injured While Impaired on the Job:
If an employee is impaired on the job, and the drugs or alcohol contributed to their injury, the workplace injury will not be covered under workers’ compensation. However, if there was no possible way to avoid the injury and someone else caused it, it could still be possible to file a workers’ compensation claim successfully.
If you have been injured on the job, get in touch with Armstrong & Vaught P.L.C., Tulsa’s Premier Workers’ Compensation, Employment, and Social Security Law Firm. We have the experience you need on your side.