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Employee injured at a work-Related conference can qualify for workers’ comp benefits

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

If employees are injured while traveling to or attending a work-related conference, they’re probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

To determine whether employees truly are performing work while they’re injured, look at whether your organization encouraged and benefited from the person’s attendance at the conference or training. If the answer is “Yes,” you’re likely on the hook for workers’ comp costs. As the following case shows, even injuries incurred while traveling to a conference can be covered.

Recent case: Tyrone Murphy was a nurse practitioner at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. He was badly injured in an auto accident while attending a continuing-education seminar. He filed for workers’ comp benefits.

Mt. Sinai argued that since Murphy wasn’t working at the time, he shouldn’t receive benefits.

The court disagreed after hearing testimony from Murphy’s supervisor, who said he’d encouraged Murphy to attend. In addition, the hospital paid Murphy for the two-day conference, marking the time as approved leave.

All this proved that the hospital wanted Murphy to attend and expected to benefit from what he learned. That was enough to make the injury work-related. (Murphy v. Mt. Sinai Hospital, No. 500701, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, 2007) 

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