Employer parking lot injuries – when are you actually “at work”?

by Karl Voigt

Your Workers’ Compensation checks will be coming later. Unfortunately, the US Postal Service, facing the possibility of bankruptcy, has decided to consolidate its mail-processing facilities, closing 250 of its 500 centers. By the spring of 2012, this will affect the delivery of all first-class  letters.

Most workers’ compensation insurance companies mail wage loss checks via first-class mail. This service will be directly affected by Postal Service cuts and will result in those wage loss checks arriving up to two days later. Nowadays, first-class mail is supposed to be delivered in one day to three days. That will lengthen to two days to three days, meaning we can no longer expect next-day delivery from surrounding communities.

Because the USPS consolidations typically lengthen the distance mail travels from the post office to processing center, the agency also would lower delivery standards for first-class mail that have been in place since 1971. If your insurer offers direct deposit, now would be the time to sign up.

We have a great number of clients who were injured in their employer’s parking lot. Naturally, in Pennsylvania, you have a workers’ compensation case when you are injured on your employer’s premises. However, are you actually on premises when you’re in the parking lot leaving or going to work?



It’s pretty simple: if it’s your employer’s lot, it’s likely compensable. Let’s say you have a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall in the ice on your employer’s lot. If that lot is owned, leased, or even controlled by your employer for its employees, your injuries may very well be considered workers’ compensation.

Things get more complex, however, if you’re very early for work or simply hanging out in the parking lot after work. Your  presence has to required as a condition of employment at the time of injury.

If your walk to work involves parking and then walking on a public sidewalk, an injury on that sidewalk may be compensable if it’s a reasonable means to get access to work.

However, cases where a worker injures himself pushing a coworkers car in the snow may not be compensable, as that is generally not a job duty.

These type of cases are, of course, different than having an injury while commuting to or from work. Generally, commuting injuries are not workers’ compensation.

As always, if your case involves facts like these, consult your attorney.

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