Workers Compensation & Scope Of Employment: 4 Factors Impacting Injured Teachers

Posted on: 1 April 2016

A teacher's job seems to never end. Whether it's preparing the classroom for the school, staying late to grade papers, or getting through each school day, there is often no set schedule for a teacher. This is why workers compensation cases can get complicated when trying to settle with insurance companies and viewing your personal scope of employment. If you're a teacher that's been injured, a workers compensation attorney can help break down several factors in your case to determine the scope of employment and how it applies to your injury. By understanding these different factors, you can process your case and receive the workers comp that you deserve.

After-School Activities

Just because the final bell has rung doesn't mean your duties as a teacher has ended. At the end of the day, you may find yourself involved in a number of after-school activities. This can include bus duty, after-school sports, or a special event like a book sale. If you're injured at any of these functions, they could be legally seen as a scope of your employment. This means that you are performing these tasks to serve your career as a teacher and help the employer, which is typically the school district. If you were not a hired teacher at the school, you likely would not be attending these events or working at them in any capacity. A lawyer can use these points and the scope of employment argument to help you get the compensation.

Field Trips

When taking a class on a field trip, you may be off school grounds, but your role as a teacher has not changed. Injuries as the result of a bus accident, slip and fall, or other hazard should all qualify you for worker's compensation until you are healed and able to work again. Even overnight trips can be covered in cases like this. For example, you may be on a class trip and staying at a hotel. On your way through the lobby, you may trip and break your leg. Even though you were not technically teaching, the hotel was a part of the scheduled trip and you were there as a representative of your employer. As long as you were following protocol and the injury was an accident, it should fall under the scope of employment and be proven by an attorney.

Classroom Shopping

With low budgets and not enough resources, many classrooms are stocked by teachers who purchase supplies. When shopping for classroom items, you may slip and fall or get injured in the store some even other way. Even if you technically are not teaching, the purpose of the shopping trip may fall into the scope of employment. One way to help prove this is with the history of other teachers at the school. For example, if other teachers testify that the purchase of classroom supplies are needed for their classrooms, then it can further showcase the scope of employment. A lawyer can gather this testimony, receipts, and any official school memos that lists off classroom supplies that are needed. Along with pencils and office supplies, places like book stores can also result in an injury.

Student Fights & Injuries

Sometimes classrooms can get unruly. This can result in student fights, flying objects, and potential injuries to the teacher. If you've been involved in the attempt to break up a fight and gotten injured, insurance companies may view the claim as outside your scope of employment. A lawyer can help breakdown the case and showcase your duties as a teacher and the protection you serve over children in your classroom. Additional teacher duties like lunchroom and recess monitoring might also fall into this scope of employment and be an integral part of the job. By showcasing your daily activities as a teacher, a lawyer can help prove that the injuries were indeed a part of the job.

Consulting with an attorney (like those at Hardee and Hardee LLP) is the first step in having a successful case. Many consultations are free and can help set you on the right path to getting workers compensation.