Office Party Liability: Who is Responsible?

January 4, 2019

Like most people in Kentucky, your employer more than likely offers an opportunity to socialize with coworkers at an annual holiday party. However, what may not be clear is what happens if you are injured while attending the party, or on your way home from the party. The answer to this may be more complicated than it appears.

Location and Terms of the Celebration

One of the first considerations as to who may be responsible for your injuries lies in where the celebration is held. If the party is being held in the workplace, during work hours, chances are your employer may be liable for any injury you suffer at the party.

In some circumstances, your employer may also be liable if the party is held off-hours at an outside venue. The specific circumstances could include your employer insisting upon your attendance or providing an incentive to attend, such as subsidizing the cost, providing bonuses, or otherwise making you feel that you have no choice but to attend.

Workers’ Compensation Laws May Apply

An employee who suffers an injury during a holiday party at their place of employment may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Even if the event takes place after hours off work premises, you may still be entitled to collect these benefits.

After seeking medical attention for your injury, you should immediately report the incident to your employer. Employer’s typically have a certain time period to provide injured employees with a workers’ compensation claim form, after you advise them of the injury. If your claim is denied, you should contact an attorney who has experience dealing with workers’ compensation claims.

Premises Liability Law May Also Apply

In cases where you are attending a holiday party away from your primary work site, your employer may still be liable for your injuries. However, there may also be cases where the owner of the facility where the event takes place is liable for the injuries you suffer. In these cases, you may have a claim against your employer as well as the owner of the facility who holds the holiday party.

Kentucky Personal Injury Statutes

Anyone who is injured should remember a few things about Kentucky law. First, if you are injured in the workplace, you have to file a claim with your employer who then notifies their insurance carrier. You will be required to submit specific documentation to show you have a legitimate claim. If denied, insurers will typically explain the reason for the denial.

If you are filing an injury claim against the owner of a facility where the holiday party took place, there are time limits to filing a lawsuit. It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible and file in a timely manner, otherwise you may lose your right to file a lawsuit.

Finally, there is the matter of Kentucky’s comparative fault statutes. If you are found to be partially responsible for your injury, any settlement you receive as part of a personal injury claim may be reduced by the percentage you are determined to be at fault. An example of this would be if you slipped and fell at a holiday party and the owner of the facility claimed you would not have fallen if you had not had several drinks.

At Saladino & Schaaf, we have years of experience representing Kentuckians in both workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits. If you’ve been injured at a holiday party or work event, and believe someone else is at fault, contact us online or call us at (270) 444-0406 to schedule a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation, but you need to take action quickly since the clock is ticking.




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