It started off as a fun evening. The boss had picked a beautiful venue, it was an open bar, and you were all set to receive your end-of-the-year cash bonus. Everything was great until you tripped over that bit of loose carpet and broke your ankle while overseeing the White Elephant gift exchange.
You weren't on the clock and you weren't on your employer's premises, but you are still wondering if you are entitled to file a workers' compensation claim.
As with most legal questions, the answer is complicated and depends on the circumstances of the situation. When you consider filing a workers' compensation claim, take the time to familiarize yourself with your employer's insurance policy and understand your rights as an employee.
Included below are circumstances that would cause your injury at the office party to be considered work-related and eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
One of the main circumstances that could be used to classify your injury as work-related is if your employer requires or expects employees to attend or if the party is treated as a way to compensate employees.
For example, if your boss is handing out those year-end bonuses at the holiday party, then attendance can be viewed as compulsory and considered an activity directly related to your employment.
Other factors that can contribute to your injury being classified as work-related include the party being held on company property, if the company endorses the event or can benefit from it in some way, or if you were paid to attend the event.
In general, courts are more likely to place liability on employers that serve excessive alcohol at social events. This means that if you suffer an injury, including a car accident, as a result of alcohol consumption, your employer can be held responsible.
Injuries that occur on the job or in the course of employment can be minor or severe, possibly resulting in high medical bills and lost wages due to days missed. Ensure that your rights aren't being violated by a denial of workers' compensation and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from the difficult-to-handle insurance company and its convoluted claim filing process.
Let a local Modesto attorney inform you of your options, in a free consultation, for filing a workers' compensation claim in California.