The holiday season is the busiest time of year. From shopping for friends and family to gathering at events, the time period between Thanksgiving and January 1 of the new year is enough to overwhelm any person.
Outside of personal gatherings, many employees find themselves socializing at work holiday parties. Even though holiday parties in the time of COVID-19 look different with face masks, and social distancing, what happens when an employee suffers injuries at a work holiday gathering?
Will worker’s comp benefits kick in and cover the injuries? Will the employee have to pay out-of-pocket?
If you’ve been injured while attending a company holiday gathering, now is the time to discuss your claim with a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
What is Florida worker’s compensation?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workers’ comp, is a form of insurance, similar to auto insurance. The sole purpose of the insurance is to cover injuries sustained while on the job.
This year, businesses are struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus period. The economy is at stake, and so are the lives of employees throughout the Sunshine State.
The good news is companies can continue to keep their employees safe and provide relief for their injuries, because workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease by 6.6 percent beginning January 1, 2021.
Common holiday party injuries
When people and parties come together, injuries are bound to happen.
There are several accidents and injuries that can occur while attending work holiday parties. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Slip, trip, and fall
- Food poisoning
- Alcohol-related injuries
If you’ve experienced any of these injuries at a holiday party, don’t wait for your employer to make a move on your behalf. You should protect your rights by speaking with a Boca Raton work injury lawyer.
Make sure the lawyer you choose is an experienced legal professional with years of experience in Florida workers’ compensation laws. Trying to make sense of the ins and outs of the law on your own can cost you time and money.
Ensure your holiday injuries are covered
Before you pursue a workers’ comp claim, you want to make sure that you’re eligible for benefits. This means checking to see if your company’s industry is covered.
Nearly every employer in Florida is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees’ injuries.
If you’re employed in any of the following, you can be covered by workers’ compensation in Florida:
- Industries other than construction with four or more full or part-time employees.
- The construction industry with one or more employees.
- State and local government.
- Farms with more than five regular employees and 12 seasonal workers working 30 days or more.
Timeline for reporting the work holiday party injury
Once you’ve determined that you’re able to be covered, you must report the incident to your employer within 30 days of the incident. We recommend you notify your employer as soon as possible.
Then, your employer has 7 days to report the injury to the workers’ compensation carrier and your claim goes from there.
Florida’s worker’s compensation law surrounding social activities
Florida Statute Section 440.092(1) clearly states:
Recreational or social activities are not compensable unless the activities are a required incident of employment and produce a substantial direct benefit to the employer beyond improvement in health and morale that is common to all kinds of recreation and social life.
The bottom line is, if you’re injured at an employer-paid holiday function, you must be able to show the following:
- You believed that attendance at the party was required.
- The holiday party was an incident of employment that benefited the employer.
- The party was work-related.
To successfully prevail in any workers’ compensation claim, you must be able to prove the injury occurred.
Evidence that can help build a strong claim includes medical records, witness testimony and photos or video.
Given these grey areas and evidence requirements, handling a workers’ compensation case without competent Florida legal counsel can be difficult. It’s important to take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney near you.
Types of workers’ compensation benefits
Your work injury attorney will work hard to maximize the amount of benefits you can obtain. Some of the benefits available for Florida employees are:
Injured at a work holiday party? Contact a Florida workers’ comp attorney
If you suffer an accident while attending a work gathering for the holidays, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Florida law.