Employees often combine personal and work trips, but sorting out workers’ compensation when injuries happen on those trips can get complicated. The problem comes when sorting out which part of the trip was personal and which was work-related.
The Law in Minnesota
In Minnesota, all injuries must arise out of your employment and occur in the course of your employment to qualify for benefits. Minn. Stat. § 176.011(16). These are two separate requirements. In other words, the injury needs to take place at your workplace while you are working, or it must take place during the time you are employed, at a place you might be while working. Further, you must be doing work duties or doing something incidental to work duties. Incidental to work duties could include:
- Travelling to an offsite location
- Going to lunch with a client
- Running an errand at your boss’s request
- Stopping for office supplies on the way home
- Taking a machine or tool for repairs
Sometimes, people run personal and work errands at the same time, or they combine personal and work travel. This complicates the issue of whether you were working or not working at the time of the injury.
Injuries During Personal Travel Are Not Compensable
You cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits if your errand or trip was purely personal. For example, if you get injured at a restaurant when you leave work to get your own lunch, you likely will not receive benefits. But if you went to the restaurant to pick up takeout for a team meeting or client meeting, you may be able to receive benefits.
Another example is work travel. If you drive your personal car to a conference but stop at a theme park on the way, any injuries you suffer at the theme park are probably not compensable. But injuries during the drive to the theme park are a gray area because you had to drive that way to get to the conference. The same is true of injuries on the road from the theme park to the conference. Workers facing benefits denials due to injuries on alleged “personal errands” should talk to a lawyer for help with their cases.
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.