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What Is Course And Scope Of Employment In A Texas Workers’ Comp Case?

What Does Course And Scope of Employment mean?

Course and scope of employment is defined in the Texas Labor Code as an activity of any kind or character that has to do with and originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer and that is performed by an employee while engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business of the employer.  The term includes an activity conducted on the premises of the employer or at other locations.

What this means is that your normal work activities are considered to be in the course and scope of your employment, and this is true whether you perform your job duties on the employer’s property or at a client’s site, or even at home.

What Does Course And Scope Of Employment Have To Do With My Texas Workers’ Comp Claim?

In Texas, an insurance company can deny your workers’ compensation claim if the injury did not occur in the course and scope of your employment.  This a common denial.  Picking up a box off of a pallet to stock a shelf is an example of an activity that is usually in the course and scope of employment.  If a construction worker falls off of the scaffolding at the worksite, then that is usually within the course and scope of employment.

Sometimes it is hard to tell if the activity you were doing was within the course and scope of employment.  For instance, packing a bag at home to go on a business trip is probably not in the course and scope of employment.  Pulling a prank on a co-worker, even while on the clock, is probably not in the course and scope of employment.

Getting into a fistfight with a co-worker because he stole your work tools is within the course and scope of your employment.  Fighting a co-worker because he made a disparaging comment about your spouse is not.  Driving to work is not in the course and scope of employment, but driving from one jobsite to another usually is.

As you can see, course and scope of employment can sometimes be easy to figure out, but at other times it’s hard to say.

What If My Claim Was Denied Because of Course And Scope of Employment?

There are two things I suggest.  One is that you talk to a workers’ comp attorney.  Because it can be hard to figure out whether the activity you were performing at the time of your injury was within the course and scope of employment, it doesn’t hurt to get a professional opinion.

Second, you will have to request a Benefit Review Conference to get the denial overturned.  Your case will have to go through the litigation process to get benefits paid.

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