Workers who are injured in the scope of their employment can file for workers’ compensation even though they were “off the clock” at the time of the injury-causing accident. Employers can still be liable even though the worker was injured after business hours, while traveling to a job site, or outside the employee’s regular job duties.
Interpreting Portal to Portal
The standard definition the Department of Labor uses for workers’ compensation claims defines employees as “at work” when they arrive and leave at the end of the day. However, there is a lot of grey area in this definition. Many workers conduct work-related tasks outside of normal operating hours, and away from their regular job location.
Many workers in Nevada, such as construction workers, oil field operators, sales personnel, plumbers, electricians, etc. travel to job sites. This puts them at serious risk of motor vehicle accidents. When these accidents occur while the employee is traveling to a job site or to meet a client, the employee is essentially injured while performing their regular job. While the definition typically excludes these injuries, there are numerous exceptions that employees can use to obtain workers’ compensation coverage.
Special Work and Circumstances
It is not uncommon for an employer to request an employee perform tasks that are outside the scope of their regular job duties. For example, running errands, assisting other personnel, etc. When an accident occurs in these circumstances, the employee is still covered and eligible to pursue workers’ compensation benefits for the broken bones, burns, lacerations, brain injuries, etc. that they sustain in an accident. This also includes injuries that occur while performing work-related tasks after hours, such as injuries sustained in a car accident while talking with a client or co-worker about work-related tasks and business.
Employers in Nevada are required to maintain a safe work site for employees. This includes parking lots, parking garages, office areas, etc. If an employee is injured on any part of the property that is controlled or maintained by the employer, then the employer bears responsibility for those injuries. Workers that are injured while entering work or leaving at the end of the day are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, workers who are injured “at work” while they are not scheduled to be at work can also pursue benefits for their injuries.