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What is a “Work Related” Injury Under Georgia’s Workers’ Comp Law?

Posted on - Monday, September 26, 2016 under FAQ, Workers Compensation What is a “Work Related” Injury Under Georgia’s Workers’ Comp Law?

There are any number of injuries that can keep you from working and earning a living, either temporarily or permanently. While an injury may keep you off the job, only “on-the job” injuries will entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia.

Determining whether or not your injury was work related and covered by workers’ compensation is not always easy. Our jobs can take us out of our offices, factories, or warehouses, and can include things like office parties or company picnics. You may drive to your job and you may also drive to see clients or make deliveries. If you’re injured while engaging in these kinds of activities, are you entitled to benefits under Georgia’s workers’ compensation law?

Under Georgia law, an “injury” that can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits “means only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment.” O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1.  That short definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation as to whether a given injury arises “out of” your job and whether a given activity you were involved in was “in the course of” your job.

An injury arises “out of” the employment when “a reasonable person, after considering the circumstances of the employment, would perceive a causal connection between the conditions under which the employee must work and the resulting injury.” Hennly v. Richardson, 264 Ga. 355, 356 (1994).

An injury arises “in the course” of employment when it occurs within the period of employment, at a place where the employee may be in the performance of his duties and while he is fulfilling or doing something incidental to those duties. Id.

Given the almost infinite number of ways we can get hurt on the job, as well as the thousands of different jobs and facilities we can engage in, whether your injury will qualify you for workers comp will depend on the specific and unique circumstances of your case.

However, certain activities we can say with relative confidence will not be covered by workers’ comp, including commuting. The Supreme Court of Georgia has held that injuries that occur while an employee is commuting or driving to and from work are not sustained “in the course” of employment and are not covered by workers’ compensation. Mayor and Aldermen of Savannah v. Stevens, 598 S.E.2d 456 (2004). Additionally, the following injuries are not covered:

  • An injury caused while violating or disregarding safety rules
  • An injury caused by the willful act of a third person directed against an employee for reasons personal to such employee
  • An injury caused by horseplay
  • Any injuries sustained while intoxicated

If you sustained an injury that you believe was work related but your employer is challenging your claim to workers’ compensation benefits, please give the experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys at The Parian Law Firm a call at us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today to discuss your situation.