Injured off the clock? Workers’ Compensation may still apply.
Is your employer accountable if you are injured off the clock? What if you are not injured but suffer severe emotional distress?
In a startling incident in 1980, a woman was attacked in her own home because her assailants believed she was in possession of a large sum of money belonging to her employer. Clearly she was not injured on the job, but her injury was a direct result of her employment. The court ruled in her favor.
In another more recent case, a Wal-Mart employee was abducted at gunpoint after she clocked out for the day. She was released after a few hours and her claim against Wal-Mart for what amounts to lack of security was initially denied due lack of physical injury, yet later overturned by the First District Court of Appeal.
So you can see that the workers’ compensation question is often complex. For instance, under Florida Law, employers are limited in their liability for a mental or nervous injury unless accompanied by physical trauma and the need for medical treatment. But the line is often blurred, and each case carries its own unique circumstances and characteristics. The bottom line? If the incident causing physical injury or emotional distress occurred as a direct result of your employment, consult a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.