When you get injured at work just after your shift ends, you may be concerned that you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits. Fortunately, benefits may still be available depending on why you were at work and what you were doing when you were injured.
What Is a Workplace Injury?
In Minnesota, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for injuries at the workplace that are work-related. Employees may be eligible for benefits even if they are not actively working at the time their injuries occur. “Work-related” does not necessarily mean that an injury was caused by doing work. It may just be an injury that happens because of a hazard on the employer’s premises or an action that an employee takes.
When Is an Off-Shift Workplace Injury Compensable?
To receive workers’ compensation benefits for an injury that happens after work, you need to show that:
- The injury happened at the workplace; and
- The injury occurred soon after the workday ended (or soon before it began).
To happen at the workplace, the injury needs to occur somewhere on the employer’s premises. This could include parking lots, stairwells, and outdoor areas. If you have to cross the street to get to the parking lot or take a shuttle to an offsite lot, injuries there may count too.
When an injury happens before or after work, the courts look to how long after work it happened and what the employee was doing at the workplace. For example, courts have awarded benefits to workers injured after socializing at work at the end of their shifts. However, if the socializing involves paying for drinks and food, then the injury may not be compensable because the employee has become a customer. (See Johnson v. Ricci’s of Hugo.)
In addition, employees may not be able to recover benefits if they take shortcuts or unusual paths off the employer’s premises. For example, this could include cutting through a back fence or hopping a gate while heading to your car.
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.