An accident during a business trip can also render you injured or ill.
Work-related injuries and illnesses are so common that in 2018, the US had 2.8 million cases of them. That’s the same number of work injuries and illnesses the country had the year before.
Canada also had 264,438 claims for work injuries and diseases that resulted in lost time in 2018. That count represents an increase of almost 13,000 claims from the previous year.
Unfortunately, not all occupational injuries and illnesses occur within the workplace itself. An accident during a business trip, for instance, can also render you injured or ill.
The question now is, what exactly happens in case you find yourself in such a pinch? Will you receive any form of insurance coverage in these instances?
We’ll get to the bottom of these questions below, so keep your eyes glued to this page!
What A Business Trip Is
A business trip is any journey that an individual takes for work purposes. The key phrase here is “work purposes”, so that excludes daily commutes and leisure travel.
Each country (or territory), however, has its own way of defining business and work travel laws. For instance, for some Canadian and US workers, the commute is part of their compensable work. That’s because their work starts right at home — even before they commute to their workplace.
Either way, a business trip can be any for-work travel done by an employee within their usual workweek. It can also take place during scheduled and tasked overtime hours.
So long as the employer requires it, then it’s a legal business trip, regardless of the day of the week it occurs. It can be to meet up with clients or attend company-mandated conferences. If your employer tells you to participate in an out-of-town event, then that’s a type of business trip too.
The Most Common Ways To Get Injured or Ill While Traveling for Work
Vehicle collisions are among the most common causes of accidents worldwide. In Canada, for instance, there were 152,847 collision injuries that occurred in 2018. In the US, three million people suffer from non-fatal crash injuries each year.
That said, car accidents can be a source of injury outside of work settings, such as during business trips. Whiplash, wounds, sprains and strains, broken bones, and head injuries can all occur due to a crash.
Other injuries that may happen during work travel include slips, trips, and falls. Contact with objects and overexertion injuries are also common. Keep in mind that in the US, these injuries account for over 84% of non-fatal work-related injuries.
They can, however, happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone, and not just in the workplace.
As for getting sick while traveling for a job, this usually occurs due to pathogenic exposure. This can happen when you consume contaminated food or water or get bitten by a harmful pest. Northern American travelers, in fact, are at risk of over 40 travel-related diseases.
What To Do If You Sustain a Work-Related Injury or Illness While Traveling
As soon as you get injured or ill while traveling for work, be sure to carry out the following steps.
Seek Medical Help
If your injury or illness is severe, don’t hesitate to dial 911, whether you’re in the US or in Canada. If you’re abroad, get help from the local emergency services.
If your injuries or illness don’t seem that bad, you should still get yourself checked by a doctor. Keep in mind that many types of trauma, such as blows to the neck, chest, and back, can have delayed symptoms. In fact, one study found that 20% of car crash patients were asymptomatic, even if they had a herniated disc.
Also, be sure to let the attending and treating doctor know that you’re on the job when the incident took place.
File An Incident Report
Who exactly you should first report to depends on where the incident took place.
For instance, if you were in a car crash, it’s the local police you should call and report to. If you slipped or fell at the hotel you’re staying in, inform the hotel management. If you had a work-related lunch with a client, and you ended up ill because of the food, tell the restaurant manager.
The important thing is, file the report with the party that’s in authority. This way, you won’t be the only one with the knowledge of what occurred.
Gather Proof of Incident
Take as many photos and videos as you can of the scene of the incident. If it’s a car accident, only speak to the other party to get their name, address, and insurance information. See if there’s any witness to the incident, and ask if they can provide witness accounts.
Get In Touch With Your Employer
Since you are on the job — even if you are miles away from the office — your worker’s compensation should still kick in. However, for your injury or illness claim to be valid, you still need to inform your employer about it. So, as soon as you can, contact your direct supervisor to let them know what happened.
Speak to a Legal Professional
A law firm can help you throughout the process of filing a job-related injury or illness claim. A personal injury lawyer, for instance, will help you file a worker’s comp claim. They will also look into the possibility of filing a third-party liability claim.
Personal injury lawyers will take over most of the legwork involved in filing a claim. Not only will they file the claim itself — they will also gather evidence and negotiate with insurers. Most importantly, they’ll make sure that you receive fair compensation for your suffering.
Don’t Let Work Travel Injuries or Illnesses Go Uncompensated
There you have it, your guide to dealing with injuries or illnesses that may happen on a business trip. The most important thing is to go to a doctor, regardless of how minor you think your condition is. This way, you can prevent “hidden” injuries or illnesses from getting worse.
Be sure to get in touch with a legal professional too, for help with your worker’s comp or liability claim.
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