Who Pays for an Injury at a Work Christmas Party?

Published by grandelaw on

Whatever happened to not mixing business with pleasure?

Two drinks in, and Taylor from Accounting is giving you that look. Until this moment, you didn’t even know they had legs. On a regular workday, they’d be tethered to a desk. This is the first actual work function since the pandemic, and people are bent on having fun… maybe a little too much fun. You took the words “open bar” as a kind gesture, while others took it as a personal challenge. Most people are living in the moment but come Monday, you all will be co-workers again, and it will be hard to look some of them in the eye. Yes, work functions are a bit awkward, but they can also open up the chance of workplace accidents.

Jessica, the intern, is on top of a table recording a Tik-Tok and – crash!! Now she’s on the floor on top of Luke from Legal. Everyone is gathering around to inspect her fall injury, each giving a concerned inebriated diagnosis. This makes you wonder—who is liable for an injury at a work Christmas party? How is she going to pay for her injuries? And who compensates Luke, the guy unlucky enough to be injured in her wake? If you are interested in finding out about liability for office party injuries incurred, read on and then contact an experienced personal injury attorney from Louis W. Grande Injury Lawyer.

Common Work Holiday Party Injuries

While rarely fatal, work Christmas parties are known for the following:

  1. Slip-and-fall incidents due to icy sidewalks, spilled food, wild dancing, or tripping over office furniture
  2. Food poisoning
  3. Injuries from a work-related group sport or recreational activity
  4. Alcohol-related injuries like alcohol poisoning and falls

Work parties can come with a host of other potential injuries. Speak with an experienced injury lawyer to find out what your options are.

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover an Office Holiday Party?

It can be challenging to tell when a work function is covered under workers’ compensation.

If unsure, ask the following questions.

Who Paid?

An employer-sponsored event is likely to be regarded as a work event. If the business or company planned and paid for the party, they could be held liable for any injuries or incidents that occur from that party. Courts have ruled that employee holiday parties can be considered within the scope of employment.

Were You Pressured to Attend?

There is a big difference between a Christmas party being promoted as a great opportunity to socialize and one where there is a tacit understanding that non-attendance will have consequences. This is primarily if the party was held during regular work hours instead of at a separate time.

Were You Still Working at This Holiday Work Party?

If this party wasn’t just for the company but was a social networking opportunity for the players in the industry, the company was likely to gain from the event. Some events are for company benefit, and attendance is more a work-related duty than a time to let loose and commiserate with colleagues.

It’s best to schedule a consultation with Louis W. Grande Injury Lawyer. There are more pointed questions regarding your case to give you a better idea of where you stand regarding workers’ compensation benefits.

What Responsibilities Do Employers Have at a Holiday Party?

Employers are required to maintain a safe workplace at all times, even during the Christmas party. A workplace holiday party can be considered an employer-sponsored event “in the course of employment.” Your injury must arise from or during employment for the employer to be held liable. The actions of other employees are also subject to the employer’s legal obligation to protect employee safety at the holiday party. Employers might be responsible through employer’s liability for the actions of their workers, including offensive remarks and behavior during Christmas parties and drunk-driving accidents.

Take It Easy with the Alcohol!

You may be on your own when it comes to alcohol-related injuries.

You can’t be drinking up a storm at the office party and then threaten to sue when your rowdiness results in you getting hurt. They may not be covered if your intoxication was proven to have caused the accident. You won’t likely be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are hurt returning from your Christmas party while intoxicated. The holiday season comes with many perils on the road, and you should not lower your guard thinking workers’ compensation applies to accidents in these circumstances. Suppose harassment or discrimination is against workplace policy on a regular workday. In that case, if an employee is a victim of this behavior at a work party, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Hire a RI Workers’ Compensation Attorney Who Understands

Christmas party season comes with blurred lines and blurry vision. Let us enlighten your darkness. Schedule a consultation with us if you were injured at a work function. An injury at a work Christmas party is potentially embarrassing, so you may want someone to seek compensation on your behalf. Find us at 395 Smith St, Providence, RI 02908.

Author Bio

Louis W. Grande is a Providence personal injury lawyer who founded his Rhode Island law firm of the same name in 2010. With more than 32 years of experience practicing law, he has successfully represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, premise liability, dog bites, medical malpractice, product liability, and other personal injury actions.

Louis received his Juris Doctor from the Hamline University School of Law and is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded Lifetime Achievement in 2017 by America’s Top 100 Attorneys and being named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers in 2017.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google