Many states contain exceptions for workers’ compensation injuries sustained during recreational activities. For example, the company softball tournament where the star pitcher receives a black eye. Athletic events, parties, and picnics often contain exclusions from the normal rules for workplace injury. As any good Denver disability lawyer would say, however, there are exceptions to almost any rule. For example, the Supreme Court of South Carolina recently found that a worker who was hurt during a kickball game he organized for work should receive workers’ compensation benefits because his employer expected him to play.
Stephen Whigham worked for Jackson Sawson Communications, a firm that specializes in marketing and public relations in South Carolina. Whigham was a director of creative solutions for his company and often had to attend meetings that focused on the vital nature of events that help with team-building. Whigham, in this spirit, suggested and organized a kickball event for the company. While playing, Whigham landed on his right leg, broke it in two places, and was told he’d likely need a knee replacement in the near future. A South Caroline workers’ compensation commissioner denied benefits because Whigham’s injury did not arise during the course of his work. In fact, it was found that the employee was not required to attend the event (about half the staff of the company did not).
The Supreme Court of South Carolina, however, found that while attendance was not mandatory for everyone, it was de facto mandatory for the director of creative solutions who attended meetings that highlighted team-building. In addition, it was an event organized by Whigham which, like workers’ comp lawyers in Denver could say, didn’t leave much choice in the matter. Whigham had to attend due to his position at the company and the nature of the event. The court awarded Whigham benefits after much hard work and argument on his behalf from the side of his excellent workers’ compensation lawyers.
Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact us here or call us at 303-780-7329 for your free consultation.