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What is a detour in the course of employment?

Whether an employee is in the course of employment or outside of the course of employment is an important factor when they file a workers’ compensation claim. If an employee is injured while working, the employer may be held liable for the injuries and lost wages the employee incurred.

New Jersey law states that employment begins when the employee arrives to the workplace to report for work and ends when they leave the workplace. It also includes performance duties directly assigned or directed by the employer. Under Pennsylvania law, an employee is in the course of employment if the employee is engaged in activities in further of the employment or the employee is not performing work duties but is on the premises of the employer. However, while in the course of employment, the employee may momentarily take a break from their duties to engage in activities that are personal in nature and not work-related. The significance of the deviation from work duties may determine whether the employer is liable for an accident that occurs during the deviation.

A detour in the course of employment is a minor departure from their employee duties. The employee’s actions during a detour are for their own benefit. However, it is only seen as an employee getting sidetracked from the employer’s orders. An example of a detour is an employee getting gas while on the way to an off-premises meeting or delivery. When an employee engages in a detour while in the course of the employment and has an accident, the employer is still liable to coverage the costs and benefits that arise from the accident.

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