What is “In the Course and Scope of your Employment” for Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You no doubt have heard that if you are injured at work you can seek workers’ compensation benefits. But did you know that you don’t always have to be physically at your job to receive benefits? If you are performing work-related duties when you are injured, you may still qualify for workers’ compensation. The question is, were you in the “course and scope of your employment”?
What does course and scope of your employment mean in Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania?
If I am on a trip from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to handle a workers’ compensation case for Lowenthal & Abrams, if I should be in a car accident, I will be considered to be in the course and scope of my employment. This is because I was specifically driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike to handle a case for my employer.
So how does your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer know if you have been injured in the course and scope of your employment? Well, he starts by looking at the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, specifically Section 301(c)(1). Your workers’ compensation attorney is also going to look at the history of other cases in Pennsylvania to determine if situations similar to yours have been seen as being, “in furtherance of the work and scope of your employment.” What are those cases? Here are some examples:
- An accident traveling from a construction site to get supplies for the site
- Furniture delivery company when an employee suffered a traumatic brain injury while on a delivery
- Police officer shot while cleaning his weapon at home
- Employee who died while walking between plants when the locations were separated by several hundred feet
- Stopped for lunch while on a delivery route
- Truck driver stopped on the side of the road
Now, please keep in mind that each of these cases are very fact specific. Your workers’ compensation lawyer in Pennsylvania will need to look closely at your situation to determine if you qualify to obtain benefits if you were injured while out of the office.
What might not qualify for Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits? Well, here are some examples that have been argued in front of a workers’ compensation judge:
- On a paid break off the premises to run own personal errands
- Heading home from work during his usual commute
- Collecting cans for personal charitable reasons, walking to parking lot and getting hit by a car
As with the successful claims, your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer would need to look at your specific case to determine if you qualify for benefits. For example, if you are commuting to or from work and you have a contract surrounding that transportation, you might well qualify for benefits if you are injured.
The Reality of Determining Course and Scope of your Employment
As you can see from the examples we’ve provided, whether you are in the course and scope of your employment is very focused on what happened in each case. As a result, if you are injured when you aren’t at your place of work, but you believe you might have been engaged in actions for your employer, you should talk to a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer. That attorney will be able to help you determine whether you should be able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.