Visitor Question

Passed away on business travel?

Submitted By: Patricia (Arizona)

Is an employee covered by workers’ compensation if they are out of town on business travel? The employee passed away after business hours, after they had been safely returned to their hotel room. The employee likely had a few drinks and was alone in the hotel room when passing.

Is the employer’s company liable? How about the company that scheduled the travel? Or the hotel? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Patricia,

The deceased employee will likely not be covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp insurance benefits are normally paid to employees who are injured in the scope of their job duties. Once an employee leaves the business premises, workers’ compensation benefits are not available.

There are some exceptions:

When an employee is traveling as part of his or her work duties and is injured while traveling, then the employee will likely be covered. This covers an employee only if the employee is off business premises in a different location, but the employee is still *acting within the scope of his or her work duties.*

Here’s an example scenario to illustrate the particulars…

John worked for a computer company. As part of his duties he had to fly to various cities. While traveling, John slipped and fell in the airport. In that case, John would likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

In the alternative, if John had stopped in the airport bar and became intoxicated, and then slipped and fell in the airport, workers’ compensation would likely not cover him. This is because John’s normal work duties did not include drinking alcohol during the workday.

In your case, it appears the employee was not acting within the scope of his or her job duties when he or she passed away. The employee had already finished working for the day, had a few drinks and then apparently went to lay down in his room where he passed away. Although unfortunate, it’s not likely workers’ comp will cover it.

However, you should definitely speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney in your area. The seriousness of this situation requires a local attorney’s specialized expertise.

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: December 18, 2014

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