A man in a wheelchair after experiencing workers compensation for traveling employees.

If you were injured on a business trip, it is important to understand whether your injuries are covered by worker’s compensation.

For an injured worker to be eligible to claim Wisconsin worker’s compensation benefits, the injury must have occurred while the worker was “performing service growing out of and incidental to his or her employment.” For people traveling for work, this means the activities that were being undertaken at the time of the injury.

Under Wisconsin law, a traveling employee “shall be deemed to be performing service growing out of and incidental to the employee’s employment at all times while on a trip, except when engaged in a deviation for a private or personal purpose…Acts reasonably necessary for living or incidental thereto shall not be regarded as such a deviation.”

Workers Compensation Cases for Traveling Employees

When people are injured while traveling for work, their worker’s compensation claim generally falls into one of three categories. Learn more about these 3 categories below.

Injured While Commuting to Work

People injured while traveling to and from work are generally not eligible for Wisconsin worker’s compensation benefits. Your daily commute is considered to be outside the purview of the employer-employee relationship.

Off-Site Trips at the Direction of Your Employer

If an employee is injured while performing off-site work for their employer, they generally are eligible for Wisconsin worker’s compensation benefits. For example, suppose you are on a job site and are asked to go to the store to purchase materials. If you were hurt in a car accident, your injuries likely would be covered under Wisconsin worker’s compensation because you were traveling at your employer’s direction and for their benefit.

Employment-Related Travel

Traveling employees who are injured on a company-sponsored trip are generally eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Employees who are required to travel for work are covered at all times during the trip, including while they are eating or sleeping. The only exception is if the employee substantially deviates into purely personal or private activities.

Note that recreational activities or minor deviations while on a work trip do not necessarily take an employee outside of the course and scope of employment. For example, a famous Wisconsin worker’s compensation case held that a traveling salesman who spent a night drinking at bars and passed out in the doorway of his overnight lodging, suffering severe frostbite to his legs, was found to be in the course and scope of employment. On the other hand, a side trip of, for example, 50 miles to visit a relative while on a work trip would likely be considered a purely personal or private deviation, and make any injury sustained while on that side trip non-compensable.

What To Do If I’ve Been Injured While Traveling for Work

If you were injured while traveling for work, your first priority should be to seek nearby medical care. Always inform your doctors that you were on a work trip, how the injury occurred, and inform your employer of the accident as soon as possible.

In worker’s compensation cases for traveling employees, you should be prepared to present evidence of the following:

  • The time, place, and circumstances of the accident
  • That the accident occurred while in the course of employment
  • The proximity of the location of the accident to the place of employment or lodging
  • The benefit your employer obtained by your presence where the accident took place

Kingree Law Handles Workers’ Compensation Cases for Traveling Employees

If you were injured while traveling for work, Kingree Law can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. Luke Kingree has practiced worker’s compensation law in Wisconsin since 2007. He knows Wisconsin worker’s compensation law and has earned a reputation as a dedicated advocate for injured workers.

Attorney Kingree can evaluate your situation, explain your options, and help you recover the worker’s compensation benefits you deserve. With offices in Madison and Eau Claire, Kingree Law proudly represents injured workers throughout Wisconsin.

To learn more, read our FAQ section and Information Center on worker’s compensation benefits. Then contact Kingree Law to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.