If you get hurt at work in the parking lot or outside the office, you may still have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Just because you are not inside the office or warehouse does not mean that you are barred from recovery.
Recovery Depends on the Circumstances
Courts recently have wrestled with many cases in which workers were injured outside but near the office. For example, employees may get hurt in the parking garage, on the curb of the sidewalk outside the office, or on exterior stairwells. In the end, whether the workers get benefits is a highly fact-specific question.
Ultimately, the courts are trying to determine whether the injuries arose out of and in the course of employment. You do not have to be doing your job duties to receive benefits – many workers have received benefits for injuries during breaks and while travelling. However, the question is usually whether under the circumstances, you had an increased risk of injury beyond what you would experience outside work in the rest of your life. (See Hohlt v. Univ. of Minn.)
Increased Risk of Injury
The question of whether someone had an increased risk of injury can be very difficult to answer. For example, people step up and down curbs everywhere, not just at work. So when someone hurts himself stepping off a curb into the employer’s parking lot, the employer may claim that there was no increased risk of injury. (See Dykhoff v. Xcel Energy.)
In response, the employee may be able to show that the parking lot was poorly lit, that the curb was difficult to see, that others had tripped there before, or similar. In addition, the employee can argue that he had to traverse that curb to get to his car and it was in the course and scope of his employment, because it was the employer’s parking lot and all employees parked there.
Cases like this can be challenging for courts to decide and for injured workers to win. If you were injured on your employer’s premises, contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer for advice.
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.