I Got Hurt At A Work Holiday Party: Can I Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
While workplace holiday parties are supposed to be festive and enjoyable events, those gatherings can also pose injury risks. Depending upon where the holiday party is held, an employee might slip and fall on slick flooring following a drink spill, or might trip and fall on a piece of torn or loose carpeting. Holiday parties at work that involve recreational activities like kickball or softball games, or relay races, may lead to severe injuries in some cases.
If you were injured at a holiday work party, can you seek financial compensation through the Florida workers’ compensation system? The answer will depend upon answers to a couple of key questions. In general, year-end holiday parties are not usually the types of workplace events in which injuries can be compensable through the workers’ compensation system, but you should have one of our South Florida workers’ compensation lawyers assess your case before you make any assumption.
When Social Events at Work May Be Compensable
In order for an injury at a social event at a Florida workplace to be compensable, the injured employee will need to be able to show that she or he meets the requirements outlined under Florida workers’ compensation law. The general rule is that injuries sustained at social events and recreational activities at work are not generally compensable unless both of the following are true:
- Employee was required to attend the event as part of his or her work duties, or as a condition of his or her employment; and
- Social event or recreational activity produced a clear benefit to the employee that went beyond boosting employee morale or improving workplace happiness and culture.
The social event must have been required (i.e., the employee could not have had the true option of attending or not attending), and the employer must have obtained a benefit from the social event that was more than just improved employee satisfaction.
Applying Florida Law to a Workplace Holiday Party Injury
How do these requirements speak to a holiday party at work? If you did get hurt at a workplace holiday party and you want to seek financial compensation, you must report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Florida law gives injured employees 30 days to report the injury, but it is better to report it as quickly as you can. Even if the holiday party occurred before Christmas, you still have time to report it. You should report the injury even if you are not certain about its compensability.
Then, do the two requirements discussed above apply to your circumstances? First, was the holiday party a required event? Did your employer require you to attend? If yes, then the injury may be compensable. If not—if the event was truly optional—it is unlikely that the injury is compensable. If you were required to attend, did the employer benefit from the event? For example, did the employer sign a new client as a result of the holiday party? Then your injury may be compensable.
Contact Our Pompano Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have questions about whether your injury is compensable, an experienced Pompano Beach workers’ compensation attorney at our firm can assess your case and help you with the claims process. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. for more information.