Does Workers’ Comp Cover Customers Injured at a Business?
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Does Workers’ Comp Cover Customers Injured at a Business?

When a customer gets injured at a business, the cost of protecting it can be high. You may wonder whether workers’ compensation insurance would cover the bills. In Minnesota, the answer is usually no, even if the customer is an employee.

Why Doesn’t Insurance Cover Customer Injuries?

Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance covers employees of a business who are injured in workplace accidents. The state requires employers to pay for insurance to cover all their employees (though not true independent contractors). It does not matter how many employees a business has. Qualifying employers with financial resources can choose to be self-insured instead of going through an insurance company.

Again, workers’ compensation insurance only covers employee injuries. It protects employees who get injured because of dangerous conditions or because of daily repetitive movements. Covered injuries do not have to be suffered while performing any specific work task – benefits could be due if an employee gets injured on work premises.

In contrast, some businesses purchase general liability insurance or “business insurance”. These policies may cover claims for customer injuries. Customers could pursue personal injury lawsuits if their injuries are serious. Lawsuits can be costly, but insurance can help defray the costs.

What If an Employee Is a Customer Too?

If an employee is a customer of the business too, workers’ compensation insurance will not necessarily cover an injury. It depends on what the employee is doing at the time of the injury. For example, if the employee has clocked out and is doing personal shopping when the injury occurs, it is much more likely that it will not fall under workers’ compensation. But if the employee is on the clock and performing work tasks, then workers’ compensation insurance should cover injuries.

Employees who are known to shop at the businesses where they work could face challenges in receiving benefits. The workers’ compensation insurance company could accuse them of pretending to have a workplace injury when it actually occurred on personal time. If you are an employee in this situation, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer in your area for help.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.