Are Injuries At Workplace Social Events Compensable?
Nobody expects to sustain a serious and debilitating workplace injury, even when they work in an industry that has common hazards and risks. Indeed, while employees in certain industries like construction or trucking might consider workplace risks and take precautions to reduce the risk of injury, a sudden accident that results in traumatic injuries can be startling and devastating. Such accidents can be even more unexpected when they happen at a job function—such as a party or company picnic—at which a worker is not supposed to be worrying about on-the-job injury risks. Yet serious accidents and injuries can happen when a worker is not exactly on the clock but is attending an event set up by the employer. From slip and fall injuries at workplace cocktail parties to torn ligaments from a workplace kickball game, injured workers in Florida may be wondering if these types of injuries are compensable through the workers’ compensation system.
Are injuries at workplace social events compensable? It depends upon the particular facts of the situation, and our Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyers can say more.
Workers’ Compensation Requirements for Recreational and Social Activities
Some injuries that occur in recreational and social activities at a workplace are compensable through the Florida workers’ compensation system. However, under Florida law, those injuries must result from activities for which the following are true:
- Recreational or social activity was an expressly required incident of employment; and
- Participation in the recreational or social activity produced a substantial direct benefit to the employer beyond improvement in employee health and morale that is common to all kinds of recreation and social life.
To put that information another way, in order for an injury from a workplace party or social gathering of any type to be compensable through workers’ compensation, a worker cannot have decided voluntarily to participate in the activity—it must have been “expressly required.” That language in the statute suggests that an injury arising from a workplace social event would not be compensable if the injured worker felt compelled to attend the event through pressure from a boss even though the event was described as optional. Further, the recreational or social workplace event must produce a benefit to the employer that is not simply raising workplace morale. For example, an injury sustained in a workplace kickball game designed to raise morale among employees—even if the kickball game was required—may not be compensable.
Applying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you did get hurt at a workplace social event that you believe may be compensable according to Florida workers’ compensation law, it is important to begin working with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer who can evaluate your case and help you to determine your eligibility for benefits. Once you have determined that you may be eligible for benefits, it will be important to ensure that you have reported the injury to your employer and to file a workers’ compensation claim so that you can begin receiving benefits.
Contact a Sunrise Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Anyone who has been injured at work should reach out to an experienced South Florida workers’ compensation attorney for assistance filing a claim. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. today to get started on your workers’ compensation case.