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Can You Get Workers' Comp If You're Injured in a Social Activity?


An August 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court ruling shows, on the surface, that there are circumstances in which an injury suffered during a work-related recreational or social activity can be compensable under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. But the ruling communicates an even more simple, albeit more subtle, axiom.

The case shows that an attorney can be a valuable advocate in the pursuit of workers’ compensation benefits. The Charleston workers’ compensation attorneys at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC have the experience and performance record that a South Carolina workers’ compensation claimant wants.

What Happened in the Case?

An employee may expect compensation for a personal injury that arises out of and in the course of his or her employment. Workers’ compensation pays for necessary medical treatment, loss of wages during a period of disability, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement.

In its August 2014 ruling, the state’s highest court held that an employee, who was injured while playing in a company kickball game, was entitled to compensation.

How Does the Court Determine "In the Course of Employment?"

The Supreme Court applied a test to determine whether the employee’s recreational activity lawfully took place within the course of employment. Generally, the activity has to fit into one of the following categories, according to the ruling:

  1. [It occurs] on the premises during a lunch or recreation period as a regular incident of the employment;

  2. The employer, by expressly or impliedly requiring participation, or by making the activity part of the services of an employee, brings the activity within the orbit of the employment; or

  3. The employer derives substantial direct benefit from the activity beyond the intangible value of improvement in employee health and morale that is common to all kinds of recreation and social life.

The Supreme Court held that the injury was compensable under the second and third provisions because the employer implied that the employee was required to attend the event that he organized and that it became a part of his “services” to the workplace. The employee, in trying to avert being called out along the base path, landed awkwardly, “shattering his tibia and fibula.”

Contact a Workers' Comp Lawyer in Charleston!

There is a lot more to successfully filing a workers’ compensation claim than filling out a few papers. The commissioners and, if necessary, the courts must consider whether the facts rise to the level of a compensable claim.

With a skilled workers' comp attorney on your side, you stand a much better chance of successfully obtaining compensation for your injury. Call Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC today!

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