Happy New Year! We hope your 2018 is off to a great start.
January has already brought some severe winter weather to many parts of the country, and it looks like February will begin with another round of snow for the northeast states. While residents in those states tend to be more prepared and experienced with driving in wintry conditions, those of us in states that only experience sporadic winter storms generally aren’t equipped to handle these situations. When thinking of workers compensation, this brings to mind the “coming and going” rule that most states have.
While each state sets its own workers compensation legislation, most states have some variation of the “coming and going” rule, which means an accident that occurs while an employee is traveling to or from work is typically not compensable, preventing the employee from collecting workers compensation benefits. The main exception is a traveling employee in travel status. However, most states agree that once an employee enters the premises of the facility where he/she works, any injuries sustained would be compensable. As an example, if an employee is driving to work, hits a patch of ice, and crashes the vehicle, any injuries sustained would not be compensable, but an injury that occurs when an employee steps out of the car in the company parking lot and slips on ice would be compensable.
Employers in most states must also remember they are primarily liable under their workers compensation for any parking lot, sidewalk, or stairs/steps injuries that occur on the premises, even if another company manages the property. When winter storms strike, we see an increase in the number of claims involving parking lots, sidewalks, and stairs/steps, so it’s important to be vigilant about the maintenance of these areas before employees report for work to ensure the safest environment for your employees.
Also, when winter weather causes facility closures, there is a heightened risk that an employee may get hurt at home and then, once they return to work, try to claim they were injured at work. When closures occur, upon reopening, we highly recommend supervisors, risk managers, and/or other employer representatives be on the ground, speaking to employees as they report to work. Anything you can do to help prevent a fraudulent claim is time well spent!
Stay safe out there!
On behalf of Jim Wilson and the rest of our InSource team, we want to congratulate Jimmy Walker on recently being promoted within our organization from Executive Vice President to the position of President. In assuming his new duties as President, Jimmy will continue to oversee growth and development, in addition to taking on more responsibilities within our organization. Congratulations, Jimmy!