Workers’ compensation insurance in Pennsylvania exists to reimburse workers for the costs they incur from work injuries. Benefits often include payment of medical bills and lost wages. But whether an injury is work-related is often a matter of dispute between injured workers and the workers’ compensation system. In order for an injury to be compensable, it must occur in the scope and course of employment.
According to Business Insurance, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently determined that a traveling salesman’s injuries were not compensable. The man often worked on the road, at home and the company’s physical location. After a full day of work, the man drove to another city to celebrate happy hour with his co-workers. He stopped by his house on the way to the restaurant. When he left the restaurant, he got into an auto collision and suffered several injuries.
He pursued partial and total disability benefits because of the crash injuries. A workers’ compensation judge denied the petition, citing the man’s inability to show that the injury happened in relation to his employment. The man filed an appeal to the denial with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsyslvania, which upheld the decision to deny benefits. This was a 5-2 decision.
The salesman argued that he was driving a work vehicle and was going home after a work-sponsored event. He also claimed that his position as a traveling employee should make the injuries eligible for compensation. But the main issue for the court was the fact that he stopped at his home before the gathering. Additionally, the court found that the happy hour was a social event and not work-related.
Any injured worker should fight to seek compensation. It may be helpful to talk with a workers’ compensation attorney.