Who Is Liable for Injuries at Work Holiday Parties?

Christmas tree in office

Company-sponsored functions are a highly-anticipated part of the holiday season. While it’s safe to assume that there will be fewer holiday parties this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some companies may still be celebrating while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for low-risk celebrating:

  • Hosting events in the open outdoors
  • Having attendees test COVID-19 negative before attending
  • Wearing face coverings when not eating or drinking
  • Limiting the number of people and time spent at the gathering

Whether you’re attending a work holiday party this year or plan on doing so in the future, it’s important to understand whether how workers’ compensation applies to injuries sustained at these events.

Factors that Determine Liability

A variety of accidents and injuries are common at holiday work parties, including:

  • Slip and falls
  • Alcohol-related injuries
  • Food poisoning
  • Sports injures

When determining whether workers’ compensation applies to these situations, it is important to distinguish whether the injury was sustained during the employee’s “scope of employment.” In other words, because workers’ comp only covers workers who are performing their designated job duties, it must be determined whether the employee was acting in relation to their job.

Some questions that may need to be asked and answered in order to make this determination include:

  • Was the event optional or required?
  • Was the event on-site or off-site?
  • Did the event take place during normal working/business hours?
  • Who paid for the event?
  • Was the employee working during the event?
  • Did the company benefit from the event?

Ultimately, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be needed to determine whether your specific accident at a holiday work party is covered by workers’ comp insurance or if another type of insurance coverage applies.

Learn more about your legal rights after a work holiday party accident by contacting Justice Law Office at (502) 822-2230 to speak with our Louisville legal team for free today.

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