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Workers’ Compensation and Extracurricular Activities

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on injuries that occur during extracurricular activities.Many Delaware companies sponsor extracurricular activities for their employees.  These can range from softball, bowling, other team sports, company picnics, or sponsored events at local attractions. What happens if an employee suffers an injury at a company game or picnic? Depending on the circumstances, these injuries may or may not be covered under the company’s Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Workers’ Compensation insurance generally is available to workers who suffer injuries that take place as a result of their employment. Courts will look at many things in determining whether the injured person was acting in the “course and scope” of their employment when the injuries took place.

When extracurricular activities occur during the work day, such as at a company appreciation event, courts often find that the employee was injured in the course of their employment.  The issue becomes more unclear when the activity takes place after working hours, or at a different location.

In determining whether an injury is a result of employment, courts will examine a wide range of factors. These include whether the employee was required to attend the event, if the company received a benefit from the activity, the degree to which the company “sponsored” the activity, where and when the activity took place, and how often the activity takes place.

Mandatory versus Voluntary Activities

For example, if the activity is voluntary, courts will likely find that injuries suffered as a result of the activity do not qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. To determine if an activity is voluntary, courts consider whether the employee had the option of working instead of attending and whether participation in the event affected the employee’s pay.  If an employee can prove that there was an expectation from the employer that all employees would attend the event, the activity also may fall within the scope and course of employment.

In one recent Delaware case, the judge overturned the Delaware Industrial Accident Board’s decision that an employee’s softball injury was in the “course and scope” of his work at a law firm, thus allowing him to obtain Workers’ Compensation payments.

Although the employee ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing on his law firm’s softball team, the judge held that participation in that extracurricular activity was voluntary and not a job requirement.  The Delaware judge rejected the argument that the law firm received a substantial and direct benefit of increased productivity from the team.  Since playing softball was not found to be in the course and scope of employment, the injured player would not be able to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Help Workers Get the Benefits They Need to Recover

If you are suffering from a workplace injury, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other damages.  At McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC our experienced Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers will assist you in understanding the complicated process of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.  Call 302-888-1221 today or complete our online contact form. From our offices in Wilmington and Philadelphia we represent injured workers in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.