Visitor Question

Head injury after passing out in a hotel bathroom on a work trip?

Submitted By: Grant (Madison, WI)

I spent the night in a hotel on a work trip. I woke up in the morning, shaved and took a shower. That’s the last thing I remember. I woke up in the bed, but there was blood in the bed and a pool of blood on the bathroom floor. I visited the ER and had an MRI, chest x-rays and other tests done, but nothing was found.

I ended up with 4 staples in the top of my head, where I’d hit the bathroom floor.

A few minutes before I hopped in the shower, I remember I got a bit nauseous, which had happened to me occasionally over the previous 18 months or so. It hasn’t happened since. I have no idea if it’s related.

It was suggested to me that I inquire about a workers’ compensation claim with my employer, as my bills look like they’ll total around $6,000…and little to nothing will be covered by insurance, as I have a very high deductible. What are my options? Because this was a work trip, will workers’ comp cover the medical bills? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Grant,

Workers’ compensation insurance should cover your medical bills. While the specific injury you sustained is medically unverifiable, it can be argued you nevertheless sustained an on-the-job injury requiring 4 staples in your head. There is a caveat…

In most cases, workers’ comp does not cover a worker’s injuries sustained in a commute to or from work. In your case, because it was the morning, the workers’ comp adjuster may argue you weren’t actually within the performance of your job duties at the time you fell and sustained your injury.

There are two other issues which may play a part on the acceptance or denial of your workers’ compensation claim…

First: If at or near the time of your injury you had been under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, including prescription medications, it is highly likely your claim will be denied.

Second: Inasmuch as you previously suffered the same symptoms, and did so while you were at home or otherwise not within the performance of your duties, the adjuster may claim your injury was nothing more than an exacerbation of a previous off-the-job injury.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 17, 2014

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