Clarifying workers’ compensation eligibility in Wisconsin

In the state of Wisconsin, an employee is entitled to workers' compensation benefits if he or she suffers an injury or illness while "performing service growing out of and incidental to his or her employment."

But what exactly does this mean? Due to the vast amount of situations that can occur, determining whether an employee in Wisconsin qualifies for benefits isn't as concrete as many may presume.

Instances considered performing service incidental to employment

Incidences that classify an employee for workers' compensation benefits vary by jurisdiction. Some states, such as Wisconsin, have outlined specific cases in which an employee does and does not qualify for benefits in the event of an injury or illness.

Incidences that qualify an employee for workers' comp benefits include:

  • "Any employee going to and from his or her employment in the ordinary and usual way, while on the premises of the employer, or while in the immediate vicinity of those premises"
  • "Any employee going between an employer's designated parking lot and the employer's work premises while on a direct route and in the ordinary and usual way"
  • "Any volunteer fire fighter, first responder, emergency medical technician, rescue squad member, or diving team member while responding to a call for assistance"
  • "Employment [that] requires the employee to travel...except when engaged in a deviation for a private or personal purpose"

Instances not considered performing service incidental to employment

Incidences that do not qualify an employee for workers' comp benefits include:

  • "Going to or from employment in a private or group or employer-sponsored car pool, van pool, commuter bus service, or other ride-sharing program in which the employee participates voluntarily and the sole purpose of which is the mass transportation of employees to and from employment"
  • "Engaging in a program, event, or activity designed to improve the physical well-being of the employee, whether or not the program, event, or activity is located on the employer's premises, if participation in the program, event, or activity is voluntary and the employee receives no compensation for participation.
  • Intentional self-inflicted injuries

When to speak to a Wisconsin workers' compensation lawyer

The Wisconsin legislature statute certainly has helped to clarify incidences when an employee is "performing service growing out of and incidental to his or her employment." However, there are many other different cases that are not specifically outlined in the law that courts have interpreted.

Individuals are encouraged to speak to a knowledgeable Wisconsin workers' compensation attorney to determine if their injury or illness would qualify them for benefits.