Coworkers sometimes like to leave the office for their lunch break, perhaps going out to buy a meal and drinks at a nearby restaurant. Some employees will also do this when taking clients out for a drink. They’re certainly not planning to become intoxicated, but drinks are just part of the social experience.
This can be important if a worker is injured on the job. After all, intoxication is one of the reasons why a business may not be responsible for workers’ comp benefits. If a worker was impaired by alcohol or drugs when they were injured, a business owner may be able to deny their workers’ comp claim.
How much did they have to drink?
For example, imagine that an employee slips and falls down the stairs in the office. If they were simply walking from one level to another and suffered from a trip-and-fall accident, even if it was technically their fault because they were the ones who tripped, they would still be in the process of performing their work duties. They would be eligible for workers’ comp.
But that’s when it’s important to ask how much they had to drink. If they were just out at lunch and they had a few too many drinks and then took a taxi back to the office, did they actually trip on the stairs because they were intoxicated? If they hadn’t been impaired, would they have simply walked up or down those stairs safely, the same way they have hundreds or thousands of times before? Even a little impairment can impact motor skills dramatically and may make injuries and accidents far more likely.
Employers to find themselves in this position may discover that it’s complicated to show why an accident happened or what types of factors played a role. This can have a major impact on workers’ comp cases, so it’s important to understand all of the legal steps to take at this time.