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I got a work-related injury but was not at work – now what?

You learned all about workers’ compensation insurance when your co-worker tripped on a computer cord in your office and sprained her knee. Since this accident happened when she was at work, she received workers’ compensation to treat her injury. However, sometimes you perform work duties off the clock or away from the office. If you got into an accident in these circumstances, would North Carolina workers’ compensation cover you?

The answer depends on whether you were truly in the middle of a job-related activity when the incident occurred. The following points can help illustrate an applicable workers’ compensation situation when you are off the clock or away from your workplace.

Work-related accidents away from work

A car accident while on a job-related mission is one of the most common ways you could get hurt away from your office. Your boss might have sent you to purchase supplies or deliver a package. If you were a pedestrian struck by a vehicle or in a collision while performing these duties, it should qualify for workers’ comp. What if you were at lunch or on your way to work when the accident happened? Since this occurred on your own time, workers’ compensation would not apply.

Work injuries off the clock

Normally, what happens during your own time is not your employer’s responsibility. However, your boss might have asked you to stop by a branch office on your way home from work to pick up some paperwork, and while there, you hit your head on an overhanging cabinet. While on a business trip, you became ill after a bad virus made the rounds among your associates. Workers' compensation should apply in either of these off-the-clock situations.

Workers’ compensation is usually a simple matter when you are hurt during normal business hours at your place of employment, but it can get confusing if the accident occurs outside of these parameters. In these cases, it may help to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

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