Workman's Comp and Injuries At Company Events

My husband’s supervisor was at a company event. It was a schmoozing thing, fun for everyone, and during work hours.

He fell going into the place and broke his wrist. When he went to HR to find out how to go about filing a workman’s comp claim, they told him he couldn’t file one because it wasn’t a mandatory event.

Is that possible? Can they really do that? This happened in Cook County, IL, if that makes a difference.

Details will vary by state, but in general, if he was doing whatever he was doing for some “company pupose”, worker’s comp will likely cover it. However, again depending on state law, in many cases filing a worker’s comp claim gets the person fired.

In a recent court decision in my state, a judge denied a woman’s claim for an on the job injury. She had slipped in a restroom and injured her back. The judge ruled that because she was not engaged in an activity that was a required part of her job descripton, she was not eligible for state worker comp. The same reasoning could apply to your husband’s boss.

Cite for any state where this is legal? It isn’t in Illinois.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker's_compensation

When employers are required to put injured staff on “light-duties” the employer may simply state that no light duty work exists, and sack the worker as unable to fulfill specified duties.

From the same article linked above:

It is illegal in some states (although not in others) for an employer to terminate an employee for reporting a workplace injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Most states also prohibit refusing employment for having previously filed a workers’ compensation claim. However, employers can consult commercial databases of claims data and it would seem nearly impossible to prove that an employer discriminated against a job applicant because of his or her claims history.

Corporate insurance person here. At my company there’s a standard form for voluntary compensation / employers’ liability in which coverage can be further specialized with specific language according to agreements made between the company and the insured. Literally every one of these forms I’ve seen has had standard fill-in language which specifies coverage for all employees through the course of their employment, including company sponsored athletic and social events.

There is no stipulation made regarding whether “company events” must be mandatory. Again, this is only my experience, but it would seem to me that if your husband’s company’s policy is anything like the hundreds of other corporate insurance policies I’ve seen, coverage would apply.

Excluding the possibility that the HR person’s knowledge of WC claims is encyclopedic off the top of his/her head (which may very well be the case), I’d say that a little more research into the exact wording of the policy is required, and that your husband should absolutely request that said research be done.

I’m not a lawyer, OR an HR person, so standard disclaimers apply.

PLEASE talk to an attorney licensed in the appropriate state. I don’t do worker’s comp, but I am part of the employment law department at my employer, which deals with TONS of worker’s comp issues. We just had a monthly teleconference on this very issue a few weeks ago, and case law varies insanely from state to state.

Oakminster, citation to a wikipedia article that itself lacks citations to authority doesn’t even rise to the level of persuasive authority, let alone evidence of binding authority to support your position.

Kalhoun, I’ll echo the advice to talk to an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction. You’ve just missed the Chicago Bar’s free Call-A-Lawyer July date, but there’s a date in August if your husband’s supervisor wants to call. Good luck.

If it helps, I can recommend a reputable worker’s comp law firm in Chicago (I worked for them one summer in college). Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll e-mail you.

It’s a general article on a law that varies quite a bit from State to State, which happens to be correct. Don’t give a damn if you like it or not. I practice law for a living. What do you do?

I practice law for a living.

Good. Then you understand that I’m not in fucking court, I’m on a messageboard, trying to provide general information on a topic, not advising a client. I’ll accept your apology for the discourteous tone of your response.

Heh. Bar fight.

No apology has been offered, nor is one forthcoming, for your fundamental lack of understanding of this messageboard, this forum, and my post. Should you continue to offer your opinion about legal matters, and fail to offer a citation to authority when requested, you will find, I believe, that a number of posters here will be more than “discourteous” in tone.

I understand just fine. The information I linked to is accurate, and in a format appropriate for providing general information to laymen. Even you haven’t disputed that. So let’s see you produce a cite that says the parts I quoted are wrong.

Moderator steps in…

Gentlemen. Or Ladies.

You are currently in General Questions. Let’s keep it civil.

samclem GQ moderator

Yo, Campion. This one’s just for you, buddy…

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=7589114#post7589114

Kalhoun, you’re in Illinois?

In case your husband’s supervisor is reluctant to seek legal advice, read this.

“The Commission held that claimant, who was injured while playing in a student/faculty basketball game, was entitled to benefits, where evidence indicated that the event was promoted by the school, that the school benefited from the game, which took place during school hours on the premises, and that participation in such games was taken into consideration during faculty performance reviews.”

Not the same situation*, maybe not even close, and IANAL and I’m not at all interested in a bar fight, but it seems like it’s worth looking into. And while he’s at it, he can ask the attorney about whether it’s legal in Illinois to fire an employee who files a work comp claim. (I’d sure like to see a non-Wiki cite for that.)

*Reading this stuff was an eye-opener. Seems like Illinois bends over backwards in favor of injured claimants.

I never said that was the law in Illinois. I said it is legal in some states. As Karana as my witness, I shall never again commit the unpardonable sin of trying to be helpful here.