Work accidents outside of work hours – important legal information
Can work accidents occur outside of work hours? The answer is yes – in recent years labor courts have recognized a wide range of incidents as work accidents, including praying in a synagogue, picking kids up from nursery school and more. Workers who have suffered from accidents in situations such as these are eligible for compensation.
Our office helps many workers to actualize their rights regarding work accidents, and in this article, we will cover important information on the issue, as explained by an expert on tort law and labor law in our office.
Attorneys in our offices, located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, are very familiar with Israeli tort law and labor law. Our office provides comprehensive legal services to workers on a variety of legal issues, including exercising workers’ rights, compensation for work injuries, severance pay, and legal procedures to obtain disability status from the National Insurance Institute and insurance companies.
What is a work accident?
Israeli law defines work accidents as follows: “An accident which occurred during a person’s work and due to a person’s work for their employer or on their employer’s behalf, and in the case of an independent worker – during their work in their trade or due to it.” This is a fairly broad definition which may also cover accidents which occurred outside the workplace and even outside of work hours. Labor courts interpret the concept of a “work accident” very broadly, in line with the legal definition, and in a manner meant to prevent workers from falling between the cracks and losing what they rightfully deserve from the National Insurance Institute as individuals who have suffered from work injuries.
Over the years, the definition of work accidents has been expanded to include many more situations workers might find themselves in which are not directly related to their work. The Labor Court ruled that a worker’s daily route to work and back must be taken into account, and that if an accident occurs in a situation which is an integral part of said daily route, it may well be considered a work accident. The best way to illustrate the matter is to present some incidents which were recognized as work accidents. We hereby present a few examples from recent years.
Work accident while picking kids up from nursery school
In 2011 the national labor court ruled that an accident while a mother is picking her children up from nursery school on her way to (or back from) work may be considered a work accident. In the specific incident examined in the ruling (National Insurance Appeal 639-09, Varda Gordon – the National Insurance Institute), the claim that the picking up of children from nursery school should be regarded as a work accident was rejected, although the reason stated was that the claimant was present at a “Tu B’Shevat” party at the nursery school, which did not constitute part of her standard route home from work. Nonetheless, the ruling serves as an opening for future cases of accidents occurring while picking kids up from nursery school and school being regarded as work accidents.
Falling in synagogue on the way home from work
In 2017 the Tel Aviv labor court ruled that an incident of a person falling in synagogue is to be considered a work accident. This was due to the fact that the incident occurred during afternoon prayers for which the claimant regularly visited the synagogue on his way home from work. Following this unprecedented ruling, the Jerusalem labor court ruled in favor of a similar incident being regarded as a work accident. In this case, a worker was injured in a car accident which occurred on his way home from prayers at the end of his workday.
A work accident during a break from work
In another case, the Tel Aviv labor court ruled in 2014 that a vehicle accident which occurred during a break from work was to be regarded as a work accident. The ruling examined a case of a bus driver who drove schoolchildren to the “Luna Park” in Tel Aviv for a school trip. While the schoolchildren were at the amusement park, the bus driver left the bus in a parking lot, went to eat in a nearby restaurant and then visited his parents. While walking back to the bus, the bus driver was hit by another passing bus and consequently suffered severe injuries. The labor court ruled that the incident occurred during an integral part of the driver’s workday, and as such ruled that the driver be regarded as a work injury victim.
The above rulings show us that there are many cases in which different incidents may be regarded as work accidents. In addition to the situations described above, many other incidents may also be regarded as work accidents outside of work hours, such as an accident during a celebratory event for workers organized by their employer. The same goes for other incidents which may occur during a worker’s commute to work and back. To ensure that you receive all that you rightfully deserve, it is important to consult a lawyer who specializes in labor law to find out if an incident in which you have suffered physical injuries can be considered a work injury.
Work accidents outside of work hours – contact a lawyer specializing in tort and labor law
Above we have presented important information on the subject of work accidents outside of work hours. It is important that workers know their rights and use what measures they have at their disposal to actualize those rights. If you need help or consultation on the matter, our attorneys will be happy to provide you with comprehensive, professional assistance. You can contact us at the telephone numbers or email address listed below and schedule a consultation, either online or in person at our offices in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.