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Injuries at holiday work parties may not compensable

While the holidays are behind us, there may still be plenty of workplace holiday parties and celebrations on people's calendars. And even if you have already had your own holiday parties, you will still want to be sure you understand your company's responsibilities in regard to workers' compensation, as injured employees may still be thinking of filing a claim.

People can and do get hurt at holiday workplace parties. Because of the fact that these gatherings are for employees and work-related, some people think injuries suffered in an accident are technically work-related injuries. However, that is not necessarily true in all situations.

Recently, for instance, a worker in another state had her claim for workers' compensation denied because it was determined that she had not been hurt within the "course and scope of her employment." This same requirement appears in Florida workers' compensation laws as well.

Although the woman in this case was injured entering a work party, her injury was not work-related. For it to have been work-related, her attendance at the party would have had to fulfill certain criteria. For example, if it was mandatory, during work hours or on the employer's property, it may have arguably fallen within the scope of her employment.

However, because none of these factors existed, an analysis by the courts determined that her injury did not arise out of her employment.

This case is just one example of how important it is to thoroughly understand the letter of the law when it comes to workers' compensation coverage. However, this can be very difficult because there may be different interpretations in play, which leads to some complicated disputes. For these reasons, it is generally wise for employers to consult an attorney when these types of situations arise.

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