Many injured workers mistakenly believe that injuries caused by horseplay on the job are ineligible for workers’ compensation. Some employers have even capitalized on this common misconception in order to discourage workers from filing claims. While horseplay can affect your claim, it by no means automatically disqualifies you from receiving payment for your injury.
Most workers’ compensation insurance considers horseplay to be any dangerous, non-work-related actions that lead to injury. Any rough fun or “goofing off” that could potentially injure a worker (such as throwing and catching equipment, friendly fighting, or playing with disregard for safety) is generally accepted to be horseplay.
If your injury resulted from horseplay, your claim may still be compensable under Missouri workers’ compensation law depending on:
- Whether the horseplay was performed along with a work task or resulted in a complete abandonment of your work duties
- The extent to which your actions resulted in your injury
- Whether horseplay is a regular and accepted part of the workplace
- Whether your employer’s workplace policies specifically prohibit the act that caused your injury
- The degree of your involvement in the horseplay
- If your employer knew about the horseplay, but did not take steps to correct it
Workers Must Be Properly Trained to Avoid Injury
Employers may share liability for workers’ comp claims if they do not provide comprehensive training programs to discourage horseplay in the workplace. Employers should have regular safety seminars for both new and established employees to educate the staff on the risks of improper work behavior. If your employer does not have a mandatory training program, your injury could be compensable even if your actions were to blame for the accident. Find out more about getting fair payment for your injuries in our free informational guide, How to Avoid Becoming a Work Injury Horror Story.