In these tough economic times, even the folks out there who are lucky enough to have jobs are often underpaid. And being the hard workers that they are, in order to make ends meet, those folks often seek out second jobs or side jobs related to their full-time employment. If you’re one of those people, you should be aware that, in some circumstances, you may not have workers’ compensation coverage for an injury sustained on a side job. The good news is there are steps you can take to greatly increase your chances of being covered.
A recent decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals shows just how devastating the consequences can be when a hard-working person gets injured on a second job and doesn’t have coverage. In Morgan v. Morgan Motor Company of Albemarle, No. COA12-1485, decided on December 17, 2013, the plaintiff was a part owner of his family’s car dealership. The dealership also owned a building which it leased to another company that ran a restaurant. In addition to his duties with the dealership, the plaintiff worked on the restaurant’s finances. While at the restaurant one day, the plaintiff decided to go up to the roof because he suspected there was a problem with the air conditioner. While up there, the plaintiff fell and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Tragically, the plaintiff in this case was not covered by the restaurant’s worker’s compensation policy. The plaintiff was covered by the car dealership’s policy, but it was found – partly because the restaurant was contractually responsible for repairing the HVAC system – that the plaintiff was not entitled to coverage. The Court upheld the conclusion that his injury was not related to his employment with the car dealership.
Although nothing (especially in the law) is for certain, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure you don’t end up in the same terrible situation as the plaintiff in the Morgan case.
In that case, the Court of Appeals explained that the plaintiff could have been covered for his injury had he proven any of these four things about the full-time job in which he had workers’ comp coverage: (1) that his job duties included the activity that led to his injury, (2) that he was authorized by his employer to do the activity that led to his injury, (3) that his accident was the result of a risk inherent in his job, or (4) that he was acting on behalf of or for the benefit of his employer at the time of the accident.
Before deciding to take on a second job or a side job related to your full-time employment, please keep these four factors in mind. Doing so will go a long way toward making sure you have the insurance you need in the unfortunate event of an injury.