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Holiday Season Means Parties

December 14th, 2016
Holiday Parties and Workers Comp

…Does Workers Comp Cover Your Company Event?

As an employer, having a holiday party towards the end of the year is a great way to boost morale, encourage team building, and show your employees how much you appreciate them. While considering issues regarding liability and insurance coverage may not seem like the most festive way to spend your time, it is important to consider whether your workers’ compensation insurance will cover you in the event that your employees are injured at the company holiday party.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage Depends on a Number of Factors

Workers’ compensation only covers injuries that occur as a result of activities that are within the course and scope of employment. As a result, if you have your holiday party at your office, hand out awards, make it clear that it is compensation for a job well-done, and make attendance mandatory, it is very likely that any injuries that occurred at your holiday party would be covered. If, on the other hand, you made your holiday party a purely social event at a bar or restaurant, informed your employees that attendance was completely voluntary, and did not subsidize it at all, it is highly unlikely that your workers’ compensation insurance would cover injuries – furthermore, there is very little risk in this latter scenario of incurring any liability at all.

Do I Want my Workers’ Compensation Insurance to Cover the Holiday Party?

It is important to keep in mind that workers’ compensation claims made on your policy can significantly increase your premiums, so they should be generally be avoided. That being said, if one of your employees at your holiday party is injured by your negligence and it is not covered by workers’ compensation, you (or your business) may be facing a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages far in excess of any potential workers’ compensation rate increase. The most effective way to limit your liability for a company holiday party is to discuss the matter with an attorney as soon as you start planning it.

Call 732 238-8686 today for more information.

If you have questions about your workers’ compensation coverage or other issues related to your business, you should call the attorneys of Bowne Barry & Barry today. We offer a variety of services, including contract review, business formation, commercial real estate review, estate planning, and business litigation representation. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 732 238-8686 or contact us online.