Office parties provide a welcome break from everyday routines and give workers a chance to socialize with each other and their clients. In Virginia, companies can hold their parties at the office or at one of the state's many wonderful hotels, museums, botanical gardens, or golf courses. Some opt for fun activities that facilitate interaction and bonding. Go-kart racing, ax throwing, ropes courses, and escape rooms are popular at many Virginia companies, for example.
Whether your office party involved cake and punch in the break room or learning archery offsite, there's always a chance for injury. Can you count on workers' comp to cover your medical expenses and lost wages if you're hurt? It depends.
Workers' Comp Applies When Parties Are Part of the Job
Whether workers' comp will cover your office party injury depends primarily on whether you're considered to be at work during the party.
This is because Virginia is a no-fault state for workers' comp. Under the no-fault system, it doesn't matter whose negligence caused your injury — your employer may have hosted the party in an unsafe building, for instance, or you may have stumbled because you weren't looking where you were going. Either way, if you were considered to be on the job during the party, you should be eligible for workers' comp.
What's tricky is determining whether an office party was “work” or not: If you attend a Saturday golf tournament organized for company employees, are you on the job? How about an evening party at company headquarters — or at your supervisor's home?
In general, parties held at the office during working hours are more likely to be viewed as on-the-job events — but not always. Your workers' comp board may take other factors into consideration: Did your employer pay for the party, or did each attendee pay their own way? Did your employer stand to gain from the party in some way? Were you expected to entertain clients or customers at the event, or speak, or lead a team in a planned activity?
To qualify for workers' comp after you're injured at your office party, you'll need to be able to show that attending the party was a duty and that, even if you weren't clocked in, you were on the job. The experienced workers' compensation attorneys at Ackerman & Falcon can help you assess the expectations surrounding your office party and make the case you'll need for a successful workers' comp claim.
Ackerman & Falcon Can Help
The attorneys at Ackerman & Falcon have over 30 years of experience representing workers' comp claimants throughout Virginia. You can count on us to fight to protect your rights and ensure you get all the benefits you're entitled to under the law.
Call us today at (703) 288-1400 for a free consultation about your concussion injury, or contact us online.