The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) explains that “all California employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees.” Workers’ comp insurance provides no-fault coverage to employees. If you are hurt on the job, you have the right to benefits regardless of whether or not your employer was to blame for the workplace accident.
This raises an important question: What happens if you are injured while off of the job site? The short answer is that you can still get workers’ compensation benefits, as long as your accident occurred within the “course and scope” of your employment. Below, our Fresno workers’ comp attorney explains what you should know about workers’ comp benefits and off-premises accidents.
As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that California does not have a rule requiring that an accident must occur on an employer’s property in order to qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Indeed, it does not technically matter where you were injured. That is not the relevant factor in determining whether or not you are covered by workers’ comp insurance. Instead, the key issue is whether you were hurt within the “course and scope” of your employment. As an example, a plumber injured while making a house call can still file for workers’ comp benefits. It does not matter that the accident occurred while off the employer’s premises.
To qualify for workers’ comp benefits, an employee must assert that they were injured while “at work.” For obvious reasons, you cannot claim workers’ comp benefits if you are hurt at your home doing personal activities while on your off day. That being said, it is not always clear as to what constitutes being “on the job.” When a dispute over this issue arises, California uses the ‘course and scope’ of employment legal standard. As described in the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, a worker is within the course and scope of their job if:
- They are performing tasks on behalf of their employer that are reasonably related to the tasks they were hired to perform; or
- They are acting as an employee/agent of their employer.
The Bottom Line: You can file workers’ compensation benefits even if you were not on your employer’s property when an accident occurred. As long as you were “working” during the time of the accident, then your injuries are likely covered under California’s workers’ comp insurance system.
Joseph C. Yrulegui is a top-rated California workers’ compensation attorney. If you were injured while working on behalf of your employer off-premises, we are here to help you pursue the full workers’ comp benefits that you rightfully deserve. Call us now or contact us online to arrange your fully confidential consultation. We represent workers throughout Fresno County, including in Fresno, Clovis, Huron, Kerman, Mendota, Selma, and Kingsburg.