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Does workers' comp apply away from the workplace?

The boundaries between home and work are not always clear. For instance, the "Snowmegeddon" blizzard in the Northeast a couple of years ago ended up encouraging more and more employers to offer flexible work schedules that include telecommuting. You may be in your own home, but you are working - and that means your employer may be required to pay workers' compensation if you get hurt.

In some cases, then, you may still be eligible for Maryland workers' compensation benefits even if your injury occurred away from the physical workplace. As a recent case from Wisconsin showed, this can sometimes be true even if the injury occurred in your own home.

The case concerned a police sergeant who was preparing for a fitness test. The test was designed to reward employees who two different types of monetary compensation: a lump-sum payment and also a retirement bonus. One component of the test was the number of pushups an employee could do.

Preparing for this test, the police sergeant was in his basement doing pushups. He had just done his twelfth pushup when he tore a rotator cuff in the shoulder area.

The city he worked for tried to deny him workers' compensation benefits. It took a legal battle, but the employee prevailed.

This is merely one example of the types of issues that can arise with "outside injuries," i.e., injuries that occur outside of the traditional workplace. Employees who suffer such outside injuries may well be eligible for workers' comp if the activity that caused the injury was work-related.

Source: "Pay for pushups: City loses legal battle over workers' compensation," PostCrescent.com, 10-31-12

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