In many ways, determining whether one is eligible for workers' compensation benefits is quite simple. If an individual has been injured during the course of employment, that person generally qualifies for workers' compensation, if applicable. However, there are times when it is not quite so clear whether an incident should be considered a workplace injury under the law in California or in any other state where a worker is hurt.
This seems to have been the case in a recent incident during a company kickball game. A public relations firm asked one of its employees to organize a company kickball game in order to build team unity among the company's workers. The man rented a facility and even had T-shirts printed to commemorate the event. However, the man ended up being seriously injured during the game, shattering two bones which will eventually require a knee replacement surgery.
Initially the man's application for workers' compensation benefits was denied, with regulators arguing that the man was not required to attend the game as a part of his employment duties. However, the man appealed the decision in court and had an appeals court judge rule in his favor. The court explained that since he was the organizer of the kickball game, his expected attendance makes the game a part of his employment responsibilities.
This case shows that applying for workers' compensation is not always a straightforward affair in California or in any other state. When one's initial claim is denied, it may be necessary to take legal action in order to be rightfully compensated following a workplace injury. However, workers will likely need to be able to cite the applicable body of law in order to prove to the court that they should be qualified to receive benefits.
Source: The Tribune, "State court: Workers' comp OK for kickball injury", Meg Kinnard, Aug. 27, 2014