If you are required to travel as part of your job duties, then any injuries you sustain during your travels will be covered by workers’ compensation. The coverage might even extend beyond working hours so long as you’re not injured outside the normal course of your travel. For example, if you leave your hotel at night and are mugged while walking down a dark alley, then the injuries you sustain might not be compensable because the activity would be considered a “frolic” that was outside the normal travel plan or route. However, if you slip and fall in the hotel after hours, then the injuries you sustain will likely be covered as you are at the hotel for the benefit or your employer. These scenarios can be a bit complex to work out, which is another reason an experienced workers’ compensation attorney should always be consulted early on after an injury.
Playing Around With Workers’ Compensation Benefits: How Much Is Too Much?
Horseplay is defined generally as employees engaging in physical activity that is not specifically part of their job description and does not directly benefit the employer. Some amount of horseplay is acceptable as part of general human behavior, and to some extent, it can be seen as benefitting the employer by contributing to a “friendly” work environment. However, most injuries sustained during mutual horseplay are not considered of benefit to the employer and therefore are not covered. With that said, if you’ve been injured during horseplay that you did not initiate or engage in, then you would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Case Closed? Now What?
An insurance company may tell you they are “closing” your case, but it would be meaningless; only a workers’ compensation judge can close a workers’ compensation case. In addition, a workers’ compensation case can only be closed after you agree in writing to close it. Once that happens, the case is closed forever and you are on your own for any future medical treatments. In other words, the workers’ compensation insurance company will not be obligated to pay for any future medical treatments.
Can A Settled Workers’ Compensation Case Be Reopened?
A settled workers’ compensation case can be reopened within five years of the date of the injury as long as the settlement is called a stipulation. If the settlement is called a “compromise and release,” then the case cannot be reopened.
How Do I Reopen A Closed Workers’ Compensation Case?
In order to reopen a stipulated workers’ compensation case, you need to file a petition to reopen with the workers’ compensation appeals board and serve all the parties to the case with this petition within five years of the date of injury.
Rules For Reopening A Workers’ Compensation Case
In order to reopen a workers’ compensation case, you must show that you have sustained a new and further disability which is due to the original work injury. A medical evaluation is necessary to assess claims of new and further disability.
Benefits Denied? Know Your Rights
If a judge has denied your claim to workers’ compensation benefits, then you can appeal that denial. If the judge’s denial is overturned and you are entitled to benefits, then you will still only have five years from the date of the injury to file a petition to reopen the case.
Aggravating Accidents: Dealing With Aggravations Of Old Or Preexisting Injuries
You can claim that an old injury or preexisting condition has been aggravated by work activities. This is not the same as claiming the same injury twice; it is a claim for aggravation only. If the prior injury resulted in 10 percent disability to a knee and there is an aggravation of that injury from subsequent work activities, then that would be considered a new injury. If the current disability is now at 15 percent, then aggravation would be causing five percent of the overall disability.
For more information on Workers’ Comp Benefits For Travelling Employees, a personalized case evaluation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (562) 426-9500 today.