Course and Scope of Employment
While many workers understand that when they injure themselves at work in Pennsylvania, they may have a workers’ compensation claim, there are many scenarios where someone is injured outside of the workplace and not on the employer’s premises, but may still have a viable workers’ compensation claim. Section 301(c)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act governs whether someone’s injury is work-related, or arising in the course and scope of his employment. If your injury was sustained while engaged in the furtherance of your employer’s business, i.e. driving to pick up office supplies or tools or going on another mission specifically requested by your employer, then you may have a viable worker's compensation claim. In Blue Cross/Blue Shield v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Billick), 2010 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 227 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Mar. 23, 2010), the Commonwealth Court ruled that Section 30l(c) must be given liberal construction and held that a claimant was engaged in the furtherance of her employer’s business when she volunteered during a popular Philadelphia race, “The Broad Street Run”. Importantly, her employer encouraged employees to participate in the run and even called them “The Blue Crew”. Our Commonwealth Court has consistently held that individuals are acting within the course of their employment when injured during company-sponsored games, such as a company sponsored softball or soccer game, or a company picnic or holiday party.
Another important category of employees are “traveling employees” who are deemed to be in the course and scope of their employment if they sustain an injury while traveling to or from a job. As a general rule, injuries sustained by an employee travelling to or from his or her place of work are not compensable under the Worker's Compensation Act. However, an employee's injury will be considered to have occurred in the course of his employment if: (1) the employment contract included transportation to and from work; (2) the claimant has no fixed place of work; (3) the claimant is on special assignment for the employer; or (4) special circumstances are such that the claimant was furthering the business of the employer. Marla has successfully secured workers’ compensation benefits for many clients that were deemed “traveling employees”, including traveling nurses, truck drivers, and workers involved in accidents while driving a company vehicle.
Therefore, whenever you sustain an injury that even remotely involves a connection to your job, you should contact Ms. Joseph, at no charge, to discuss the specific facts of your case so she may determine if your injury was in the course and scope of your employment.