Protecting Yourself While Traveling For Business: Are Injuries & Illnesses Work-Related Or Not?
Worker's compensation covers injuries and illnesses that occur while in the workplace, but what if an individual's workplace is anywhere their boss sends them on business trips? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employees need to be actively engaged in work-related activities in order to qualify for worker's compensation while on business trips. Here's what you need to know about worker's compensation if you travel for business.
Document Everything in Your Schedule
People who travel for work need to understand the importance of keeping documentation of their activities and itineraries while traveling for business. As was previously mentioned, only activities related to work are covered by worker's compensation. By having a clear-cut, written itinerary of your professional and personal activities, you'll be able to provide documentation to prove that an injury or illness occurred while you were engaged in work-related activities. Share the itinerary and any updates to it with your supervisor or boss in the home office beforehand.
Annotate on the itinerary which activities are for work and which are not. For example, if you are scheduled to meet clients for dinner and are injured in a motor vehicle accident while en route, your injuries will be covered by worker's compensation. The same is true if you become ill with food poisoning while dining with a client to discuss work. However, if you are not meeting anyone who is work-related, your injuries or illness will not be covered by worker's compensation. Speak with a worker's compensation attorney for more clarification regarding this based on your personal situation.
Get Documentation From Medical Staff
If you do become injured or ill while on a business trip, you should ask the medical care providers to give you printouts of all of the medical records and documentation they created. Be sure they understand that you are traveling for business and will submit a worker's compensation claim if eligible. That way, they can fill out the appropriate paperwork to give to you as evidence of being seen by a medical professional for a work-related injury or illness. You can then use this paperwork as evidence of an injury or illness when you submit your claim.
Another benefit of ensuring the medical staff know that your injury or illness was work-related is that they will then send all related bills to your employer or worker's compensation insurance company instead of to your home. However, due to being out of town on business, you will likely need to provide them with this information as it may not be readily available in their database like it would in your local hospital and physicians' offices.