If You Were Hurt on a Business Trip You May Still Qualify for Workers Comp

lawyer meeting with client that has a neck injury

Many careers require employees to travel for work. Some employees frequently travel to different offices, while others occasionally travel for conferences or meetings. Business travel may include local travel, long-distance travel that requires travel by plane or use of overnight accommodations, and international travel. As of 2018, U.S. employees’ number of domestic business trips surpassed 463 million. Projections indicate this number should exceed 474 million in 2022. 

Employees may make business and personal preparations before a long-distance business trip. However, many don’t consider whether workers’ comp covers traveling employees. While American employees are covered under workers’ compensation if injured during a business trip, some conditions apply to injuries during business travel that you should be aware of before you pack your bags.

What insurance covers you while traveling on “official business”? Is it still workers’ compensation? 

U.S. employees injured while traveling may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, workers’ compensation benefits insure employees who contract a disease or sustain an injury while working. These benefits include medical treatment costs and compensation for lost income. 

Is coverage the same for all modes of travel transportation? 

Workers’ compensation applies to injuries sustained during all standard modes of transportation. It doesn’t matter who pays the travel expenses or whether the employee travels by train, car, bus, or plane. Workers’ compensation also applies to employees driving their own vehicles for business purposes.

Does coverage change for international travel? Will you need supplemental insurance?

Insured employees traveling outside the country are eligible for worker compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation has a benefit cap, and some restrictions could affect your claim. Consequently, you may want to take out supplemental insurance or check to see if your company provides additional business travel accident insurance for costs workers’ compensation doesn’t cover. 

What factors could disqualify you from claiming workers’ compensation benefits?

Workers’ compensation is a government insurance program for employees. Like all insurance programs, there are conditions determining when people qualify to receive benefits. Several factors may disqualify traveling employees from qualifying for workers’ compensation. 

Leisure Activities 

Workers’ compensation covers work-related injuries. Employees injured on the job may qualify for workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t automatically cover those injured during leisure activities while on a business trip. Coverage is limited to leisure activities approved by your employer. 

Trip Duration 

Each state sets time limits for coverage. Those engaged in business travel for extended periods need supplemental business travel accident insurance. Check your state laws before departing. Some states offer 30 days of overseas travel coverage, while others offer up to 90 days.

Nature of Illness

Workers’ compensation covers you for injuries or diseases covered in your home state. Slips and falls can happen anywhere, but some illnesses are location-based. Consequently, you won’t receive workers’ compensation benefits if you contract a local disease your state doesn’t cover.

Medical Evacuation

Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover emergency travel expenses, such as those required when a person has to be evacuated. You’ll need supplemental insurance to cover transportation back to the U.S. for medical treatment, even if you’re injured while working. 

It’s also crucial to note that workers’ compensation applies to American workers traveling for business. However, when companies hire foreign workers to work overseas, those workers aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation. Foreign Voluntary Workers’ Compensation (FVWC) provides coverage for international employees.

What steps should you take before leaving on a business trip?

woman walking through a hotel with a suitcase

Take these steps before you depart on your business trip to ensure you have the coverage you need and know what to do if you’re injured on your trip:

  • Review your state’s workers’ compensation policies
  • Research your destination for common illnesses not covered by workers’ compensation
  • Check with your employer about supplemental business travel insurance
  • Make decisions about leisure activities
  • Consult employer about leisure activities
  • Consult an insurance agent about supplemental insurance
  • Make a list of emergency contact numbers 
  • Save instructions for filing a claim
  • Save contact information for your workers’ compensation attorney

What steps should you take if you’re injured while traveling for business? 

Ideally, you’ll enjoy a business trip without incident. However, if you are injured while traveling, take these steps to protect your rights and ensure you receive coverage for your claim:

  • Seek medical care
  • Notify supervisor
  • Complete a workers’ compensation claim form
  • Document injuries
  • Save medical receipts
  • Save medical paperwork

Notify your employer about your injury as soon as possible. Each state sets a deadline for reporting. For example, Pennsylvania allows residents 21 days to report a workplace injury, while Colorado allows employees ten days. 

Once you open a claim, you should document the following:

  • Date of injury
  • Claim number
  • Claims adjuster’s name and contact info
  • Doctor’s name and contact info

Keep all your claim information and medical paperwork together to ensure you have everything you need to support your claim.

How can a worker’s compensation attorney help you?

a group of four workers compensation attorneys

A workers’ compensation attorney can help you pursue your workman’s compensation claim. The attorneys working for a personal injury law firm have experience pursuing workers’ compensation and employment law cases. Whether seeking approval for a workers’ compensation claim or having issues with your employer following your accident, our legal team will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. 

We offer every client a free consultation. Contact Us today to discover how we can help you with your workers’ compensation case. You don’t have to worry about financial issues from your lawsuit because you don’t pay a cent until we win your case.

We have an experienced legal team in Denver. Those outside the capital can consult experts in our offices in Colorado Springs, Englewood, Aurora, and Fort Collins.


Jovic, D. (2022). 42 Business Travel Statistics That Will Inspire You to Hit the Road

Workers’ Compensation Coverage While Traveling. (2022).

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