Delaware Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Watch your step!

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heather_long_sq_as11By Heather A. Long, Esq.

When I woke up this morning my car, walkway and driveway were all coated with snow for the first time this year. The side roads were also blanketed, but when I arrived at work, the area was clearly shoveled or salted with not a snowflake in sight. The building that I work in is always very good at making sure that the grounds are well-maintained, however, I’m sure some people are not so lucky.

If you find yourself faced with having to navigate a slippery, snowy or icy walkway at work, be sure to take extra caution and go slow so that you can try to avoid a painful fall.  But, even in the best of circumstances, accidents can still happen, and this is especially true for slip and fall accidents.  So, if one minute you are walking along at work and minding your own business and the next minute you are performing a less-than-graceful tumble to the ground while your co-workers try to suppress their giggles, here is what you need to know:

•  As a general rule, all accidents that happen while you are working are covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. This means that any medical bills that are incurred as a result of your accident are covered, and you are eligible for certain other benefits in connection with your accident as well.

•  Under the “going and coming” rule, you are not covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance while you are traveling to and from work.  That does not mean that you are completely without recourse for those injuries, it just means that someone other than your Workers’ Compensation insurer may be responsible for them.

•  There are exceptions to the “going and coming” rule:  1. if you are on the premises where your work is to be performed, and those premises are either occupied or controlled by your employer; or, 2. if you are engaged in the employer’s business at an alternate location, at the request of your employer.

Generally speaking, if you are injured while in your employer’s parking lot , your injuries will be covered under Workers’ Compensation insurance. This is especially true if your employer directs you to park in a particular parking lot.  Of course, as with anything in life, there are exceptions to every rule, so if you have been injured in a similar scenario I suggest consulting an attorney who specializes in this area of the law to find out exactly how these laws apply to your particular case.

Workers’ Compensation laws dealing with the “going and coming” rule and whether you are in the course and scope of your employment when you are injured can be difficult to figure out. A consultation with a lawyer who specializes in this area will be able to give you insight as to whether your particular injury qualifies for Workers’ Compensation benefits. All of the lawyers in my firm, including myself, offer consultations for work injuries.  The consultations are free, and the insight into your claim could be invaluable to your future health and benefits.

Heather has been an attorney for over five years, and is currently practicing workers’ compensation and personal injury law at Kimmel, Carter, Roman & Peltz, P.A. with offices in Newark and Wilmington. Heather worked her way through law school as a paralegal in a personal injury firm. After passing the bar exam, she spent several years working as a defense attorney, representing local, regional and national companies. With the knowledge gained of the inner-workings of these companies, she now represents injured workers and personal injury plaintiffs.

Heather is a graduate of Widener University School of Law, and the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Prior to attending law school, she was licensed as a paramedic and spent time volunteering for her local ambulance corps. She is also active as a coach and judge for the Delaware High School Mock Trial Competition.

Heather is licensed to practice law in: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please call
(302) 565-6100 or e-mail her directly at HLong@kcrlaw.com.

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