Tis the season for office or company parties. If an employee is injured at the party, what is the liability of the employer? If the employer has worker’s compensation insurance, worker’s compensation insurance does not cover an employee for injuries sustained during voluntary participation in off-duty work-related or work-sponsored social, athletic, or recreational events, unless participation is required by the employer (however, the employer is still protected by the worker’s compensation laws from liability for its own negligence which may have caused or contributed to the injury of the employee). If the employer is not a subscriber to the worker’s compensation insurance system, then the employee can bring a suit but can only recover if the employee can prove the employer was guilty of negligence causing the injury. Also, there are three specific defenses available to the non-subscribing employer against claims from an employee: (1) the injury was solely caused by the negligence of the injured employee, (2) the injury was caused by an employee who intended to bring about the injury; or (3) the injury occurred while the injured employee was intoxicated.
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