Workers injured on the job are usually expected to be "ON the job" in order to get workers compensation benefits. However, there are exceptions. One such exception that has helped our clients who have been injured on the job is the Personal Comfort Doctrine. Under the Personal Comfort Doctrine, employees who engage in acts which are for their personal comfort are not considered to have left their place of employment, if they remain on (or nearby) the premises when conducting these acts.
For example, in Cadmus Magazines v. Williams, 30 Va. App. 129, 515 S.E.2d 797 (1999), the employee worked the night shift, and on his break, went outside to smoke a cigarette in a co-worker’s vehicle. On his return to the building, he was running in the rain, slipped on wet pavement, and fell. The employee was on a regular break, in an employer-controlled parking lot, and smoking outside, because it was prohibited in the building. The Virginia Court of Appeals determined that the personal comfort doctrine applied, as well as the “principle that once an employee is on the employer’s premises with the intent to begin his or her services for the employer, injuries occurring thereon may be compensable.”
Keep in mind that the Premise Liability Law denotes responsibility for the safety of the people lawfully on the premises to the owners, the operators, and/or the maintenance company of the premises. Put simply, if someone gets hurt on your property, whether it is your home or business, you are primarily responsible if you or someone you hired to maintain the property, was at fault.
If you have been hurt "On the job", one or even both of these laws may help your case. We at Abrams Landau Ltd. represent clients who fall into this category. For more information visit our site.