We live in an increasingly mobile society with evolving technology that has created a roving workplace. No longer are employees tethered to their office desks or assembly lines. Businesses launch projects across state lines. Often it requires workers to travel and lodge away from home for days or weeks at a time.
What if they become injured on location, hundreds or thousands of miles from company headquarters and presiding laws? Are they eligible for medical and disability benefits for wage losses?
Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act defines any injuries, illnesses and deaths arising out of and during employment as eligible for a claim. This covers job duties assigned during work hours. It does not include commuting to and from a job site or lunch breaks. But there is an exception for traveling workers who are killed or injured during their trip if they are performing work duties.
What is continuous employment?
In 2007, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the State Workers’ Compensation Board’s decision to award benefits to the child of a Florida man who died in a car accident while supervising a construction project in Fayetteville, Ga. At issue was the fact that the man was killed in a company truck after moving furniture from his late mother’s storage shed.
The man had just finished a personal errand. However, the court affirmed the Board’s ruling that the man suffered a compensable injury because he was in “continuous employment” and driving an employer-provided vehicle in proximity of his jobsite during working hours.
Claims and jurisdiction
If you are injured on the road or your company’s work premises you have 30 days to notify your employer, according to the law. You should also consider filing a workers’ compensation claim to see whether you are entitled to benefits. Determining jurisdiction is a crucial factor because your employer’s insurance carrier typically will not be looking out for your best interests.
The family of the Florida man who was killed here was awarded compensation under Georgia law. It also applies to Georgia-based workers who are injured on the job in another state. You also might have a choice of which state system to file a claim depending on what compensation is best for you.