Horseplay: It's Not As Fun As It Sounds When Someone Gets Hurt

Posted on

As an adult, you know that there are certain things you should not do at work. However, when you want to lighten the mood, you might engage in horseplay with a work buddy. Sure, it is nothing at first, but when you get hurt, it is not quite so funny anymore. The problem is, worker's compensation might not cover your injuries if you were horsing around. This gray area is pretty common, especially in industrial settings where injuries around big machines and metal equipment occur more frequently. Here is what your worker's compensation attorney might have to say about it.

Goofing off off the Clock

If a work buddy engaged you in goofing off while you were on break or outside for a smoke, you cannot sue your employer. Even though you were on work property, you were not present as an employee because you were not punched in to work. Additionally, falling and getting hurt because you were goofing off is your own fault. You cannot sue anyone for this because it is clear that you participated in the horseplay that lead to your injuries.

Goofing off on the Clock

Once you are punched in to work, that is what should be happening. Unless another employee approaches you and shoves or hits you such that you fall and get injured, it does not qualify for worker's compensation. There may be a few other odd incidents where goofing off does lead to worker's compensation, but those are very rare. In this instance, you cannot sue your employer for your injuries. You can only sue the other person responsible when both of you are clocked in to work.

Weird Incidents That Can Lead to Suing Your Employer for Worker's Compensation

There are some weird ways to sue for worker's compensation when the horseplay put you in a position to be hurt. For example, let's say that you are standing on a stairwell platform overlooking a large open vat. If a work buddy gives you a playful shove toward the railing and you either topple over it or the railing gives way and you fall into the vat, that would count as worker's compensation because the railing was not high enough or strong enough to prevent your fall.

Another incident would be if someone spilled an entire bucket of floor cleaner or wax on an already slippery surface and you walked right into it and fell. The prankster hoped to make you slip, but instead caused a concussion because the floor was far too slippery to begin with. The other employee would be severely punished, but you could sue both the other person and your employer for not making this surface slip-proof in the first place. In each case, part of the problem has to be a failure on your employer's part, and not just horseplay.

For more information, you will want to check out a website such as