Injured Playing Softball on a Company Team

If an employee is injured while playing on a company team, are the costs covered by workers’ compensation benefits? Attorney Ben Schwartz wants to know what you think.

Injured Playing Softball on a Company Team

TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz.

Today, I’m going to talk about a case that just came out of Delaware’s Superior Court.  The case was Morris James vs. William Weller, and it was reported through the local news media: Delaware Online and the Wilmington News Journal.

A paralegal in a local law firm was playing softball on the law firm’s softball team. As he was running the bases, he tore his Achilles tendon. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and he went to a hearing before the Delaware Industrial Accident Board and won. They said, “Yes, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.”  The insurance company for his employer, Morris James, appealed the case. Superior Court says, “No. If you’re running the bases in a softball game, you are not in the course and scope of your employment. You were not entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim.”

I found this to be a very interesting case. What do you think? We’ve got thousands of people that are watching these videos every week and I’m interested to know our viewers’ thoughts. If you are an employee and play softball on the company team, are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are running the bases and sustain a very serious personal injury (like an Achilles tendon rupture)? Is that something that should be paid through your employer’s insurance company? Should your medical bills, lost wages and other items of loss should be paid by workers’ compensation insurance? Or is that the type of thing that you believe is unfair for your employer to pay? Who should have to pay for that? Are you entitled to those sorts of benefits when you’re not really on-the-job (and you’re not in the office working when you sustained the injury)?

Let me know what you think. I’m interested to know because I’m on the fence. On the one hand, if the employer (in this case, the law firm) was sponsoring the guy to be on their law firm’s company team (i.e., they’re paying for uniforms, food, beverages, costs associated with participating in the softball league, etc.), then I would say it sounds like you’re on-the-job when you’re playing softball. The event was sponsored by that employer. On the other hand, if you’re a paralegal, playing softball on a company team has nothing to do with being a paralegal! How can you legally say you’re acting in the course and scope of employment?

I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz. As a personal injury attorney and a workers’ compensation attorney, I really want to know what you think. Please leave us a comment or go to our Facebook page.

Thanks for watching!

Injured Playing Softball on a Company Team

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