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Post-Employment Injuries

Though it would seem to be antagonistic to the principle that an injury must arise out of the employment to be compensable, some injuries that occur post-employment are still compensable. Depending on the situation, some activities occurring post-employment are considered by the courts to be normal work activities. For example, injuries incurred while picking up a paycheck, exiting the work premises, and collecting belongings from the employer’s premises have all been held to be compensable provided that such activities are undertaken within a reasonable time after the employment relationship has ended.

Determining what constitutes a “reasonable time” after the employee has quit or been terminated from his employment can be difficult to pin down. Some courts rely on custom as a basis for the determination. In other words, how long does it customarily take an employee to wind up his employment affairs once his employment relationship with the employer has ended? Another view on “reasonable time” looks to the employee’s normal routine. Consider the employee whose employment is terminated midday, but who has no way of transportation away from the employer’s premises until the end of his normal work shift. It is not considered unreasonable for the employee to remain on the premises until the end of his shift and an injury incurred during that time would likely be found compensable.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.