Yes, you could claim workers’ comp if you’re injured during work travel. First, you must suffer an injury or illness during the course and scope of your employment. Then, the company that employs you must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Getting hurt or sick while traveling for work could involve any number of scenarios, and some might include nuances and circumstances that make it challenging to determine if you qualify for worker’s comp benefits. Thus, if you are unsure if you have a valid claim, you can consult a Waxahachie workers’ compensation lawyer to advise you of your legal options and next steps.
How Texas Law Defines ‘Course and Scope of Employment’ for Work-Related Injuries
The term “course and scope of employment” is an essential consideration as you consider filing a workers’ compensation claim for an injury or illness you sustained while traveling for work.
Texas Labor Code § 401.011(12) defines “course and scope of employment” as:
- An activity that “has to do with and originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer.”
- Something an employee performs “while engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business of the employer.”
Generally, these two elements make clear that if you perform activities that benefit your employer, the injuries you suffered while doing them will likely qualify for a workers’ compensation claim.
The law also clearly states that activity conducted on an employer’s premises or at other locations falls under the course and scope of employment. However, the term does not apply to transportation employees use for work travel unless certain conditions apply.
The ‘Coming and Going Rule’
Texas Labor Code § 401.011(12)(A) is known as the “coming and going rule.” It defines the elements that must be present for an employee’s transportation to fall under the “course and scope of employment” category. These elements are as follows:
- The employer provides transportation as part of the employee’s employment contract (e.g., a company vehicle).
- The employer pays for the transportation the employee uses.
- The employer controls the means of transportation the employee uses.
- The employer directs the employee to proceed from place to place as part of their employment.
This last point is called the “special mission exception.” An example would be if your employer asked you to run a work-related errand when you suffered an injury.
The ‘Dual Purpose Doctrine’
Texas Labor Code § 401.011(12)(B) is referred to as the “dual purpose doctrine.” Under this section, you could claim an injury or illness that occurs during business travel that also includes “personal or private affairs of the employee” unless:
- The trip would have happened even if there had been no furtherance of the employee’s personal or private affairs, and
- The trip would not have occurred if the employer had not had affairs or business furthered by the travel.
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Proving Your Injury or Illness Originated During Your Employment
To file a claim for workers’ compensation for an injury or illness you suffered while traveling on business, you must prove the injury or illness:
- Originated in the course of your employment.
- The activities that led to the injury or illness benefited your employer.
Still, your case may be more complicated than it may appear. A workers’ compensation lawyer can review your situation and determine your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits.
How an Attorney Can Help Your Workers’ Compensation Case After a Work Travel Injury
If you hire an attorney for your work-related travel case, they will lead your entire case. That could involve:
- Advising you on your rights and legal options under Texas law.
- Investigating the accident or incident that caused your injury or illness.
- Gathering evidence that supports your case.
- Identifying all parties that could owe you compensation (such as a third party who operates independently of your employer).
- Explaining the medical care and income benefits you could receive in a workers’ comp claim.
- Explaining how Texas’ workers’ compensation laws apply to your case.
- Answering your questions and concerns.
- Appealing a denied benefits claim.
- Representing you at a workers’ compensation mediation session or other legal proceedings as necessary.
Your Options If Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage
If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you could file a lawsuit against the employer for your economic and noneconomic damages. If a third party caused your work travel-related injury or illness, a personal injury attorney could file a lawsuit to recover damages from them.
An attorney can also help you look for other compensation options that could cover the costs of your injury. For example, your company may have business travelers insurance.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Work If You Got Hurt During Work Travel
If you can file a workers’ compensation claim, you must report the injury or illness to your employer within 30 days. The sooner you file, the better, and you should submit your injury report in writing. Also, fill out any corresponding forms your employer requires. You must submit your Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Form-041 within one year of your injury.
You should also get prompt medical treatment for the work-related injuries you plan to claim. Then, keep all your medical records, receipts, and other documentation. You can use that as evidence to support your case. Per the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), you can call the department within a week or two after sending the form to confirm receipt.
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Call Us for Help With Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Work Travel Injury
The attorneys at Clay Jenkins & Associates know accidents can happen anywhere— even when employees travel on business. We can review your situation and determine if you can claim workers’ comp if you’re injured during work travel. Then, we’ll prove your injury or ailment originated and occurred during the scope of your employment.
Workers’ compensation laws are complex, and it’s easy to get lost trying to determine how they apply to your case. You could spend a lot of time trying to understand them or call us today for a free consultation. We are ready to help. Reach out to us today to get started.