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Do I Have To Be Injured At Work To Qualify For Workers’ Comp?

Posted in Workers Compensation on February 21, 2023

In order for an individual to recover workers’ compensation benefits, they must have sustained an injury or illness while carrying out job-related duties. However, does this mean that a person has to be injured at work to recover benefits? Not necessarily. Here, we want to delve into what qualifies as a workplace injury in Arizona as well as some stipulations involved with these types of claims.

Injuries During a Commute

There are times when individuals sustain injuries during their commute to and from work or while commuting during the work day, perhaps to a lunch break or while running errands. Whether or not a person is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits after a commute injury will depend heavily on whether or not they are considered on duty at the time the incident occurs. If a person is carrying out job-related duties in some fashion, then they should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

In general, individuals are not considered on the clock during their commute to and from work. However, if they are conducting meetings or work phone calls during the commute, it could be argued that they were carrying out job-related duties. Additionally, there are times when individuals use company cars to commute to and from work and are technically considered on duty during this time frame. This is not uncommon for police officers and other first responders. It could also be argued that these individuals should recover workers’ compensation if they sustain an injury on the commute.

Injuries While Running Errands

There are times when individuals run errands during work hours, either for themselves or perhaps for a supervisor or coworker. If an individual is running errands on their break time, and the errands are personal in nature, then it is unlikely they will be able to recover compensation if they sustain an injury.

However, if a person is running errands on behalf of the workplace or a supervisor, then this will likely mean their time is considered on duty, and they should receive workers’ compensation benefits for any injury they sustain.

Long-Term Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

There are many workplace injuries and illnesses that occur over longer periods of time as a result of workplace duties or exposure at a job site. For example, this can include repetitive stress injuries that affect joints, respiratory illnesses, occupational cancers, cardiovascular diseases, hearing and vision loss, and more.

Even though long-term workplace exposure often leads to these types of injuries, it is often argued by insurance carriers and employers that there is no way to pinpoint the cause of these types of injuries or illnesses because of their very nature. However, even though it may take longer for these types of injuries or illnesses to show up if it can be shown that workplace exposure led to the issue, individuals should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

Work With a Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you have any questions about whether or not you should receive compensation for an on-the-job injury, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to recover benefits even if the injury occurred at some place off of the job site. Reach out to a Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible so you can start the process of recovering the benefits you need, including coverage of your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.