What Happens If You Are Injured While Traveling for Business?

Traveling for business is an exciting part of any job. You get to network with business owners and experience new destinations. You also get to introduce others to your company and represent your brand in different cities. 

Unfortunately, business travel comes with the risk of accidents and injuries. These incidents form part of the 39.5 million personal injury cases in the U.S. annually

If you are injured while traveling for business, the excitement of the trip will quickly fade. Instead of meeting people, you will see a doctor or be admitted to a hospital. Your company will probably need to send a replacement for you while you recover. 

If your injuries are severe, you will likely get caught up in a legal personal injury case of your own.

It is important to prepare for the possibility of sustaining an injury or being in an accident while traveling. Keep reading to find out when business travel injuries lead to personal injury cases and what your rights are. 

Most Common Personal Injuries During Business Trips

Business travel inevitably exposes travelers to unfamiliar environments and situations. This automatically increases the risk of injury. 

For example, uneven sidewalks and poorly lit hotel entrances or hallways can lead to slip-and-fall accidents. Accidents can also happen inside the hotel, whether due to mediocre maintenance or defective equipment. 

Those renting a car may be unfamiliar with the road they are traveling on, which increases the likelihood of a car accident. 

Travelers going long distances by plane might sustain injuries during unexpected turbulence or mechanical issues. People may even get injured during boarding or disembarking the plane. 

Unfortunately, muggings and assaults are also common during business travel. Certain areas are riskier than others, but these incidents can happen anywhere

Legal Rights When Injured During Business Travel

If you experience any of these incidents or accidents, you may have legal rights to claim compensation based on workers’ compensation laws. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation provides medical benefits and makes up for lost wages when employees sustain injuries on duty. Duty includes traveling to and from business meetings, conferences, and client visits. 

However, workers’ compensation does not necessarily cover all expenses and losses. Here is when a personal injury claim might be more important: 

  • Employer negligence: If your employer did not take reasonable precautions to ensure your safety, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. This may include booking unsafe accommodation or refusing to pay for travel insurance.
  • Third-party liability: You can also file a claim against a third party if they directly caused your accident. For example, a drunk driver may crash into your rental car, or the hotel restaurant does not put a warning sign for a wet floor, and you slip and fall. 
  • Injuries extending beyond workers’ compensation: Workers’ compensation may cover some of your medical bills and lost income, but it will not cover non-economic damages like emotional distress and pain. A personal injury lawsuit can help you claim compensation for this.

What to Do If You Are Injured During a Business Trip

If you sustain a personal injury during a business trip, it is crucial to follow these steps:

  • Get medical treatment immediately: Nothing is more important than your health and well-being after an injury. Go to the nearest ER, or if you cannot drive there, ask someone to call an ambulance. Ask the doctor for a medical report documenting your injuries and treatment plan. 
  • Report the incident: When you leave the hospital, let your employer know what happened. Write a report that includes all the details of the incident and injury, including the date, time, and location. 
  • Get the evidence you need: If possible, go back to the accident scene and take photos detailing the site and its surroundings. Also, document your injuries or any damaged property. If there were any witnesses to your accident, get statements from them. 
  • Understand your insurance coverage: If you have not reviewed your travel insurance policy and other coverage you may have, you should do so before consulting a lawyer. It is important to understand what your policies cover and what steps to follow to file a claim. 
  • Speaking to a lawyer is always a good idea: Personal injury lawyers can help guide you through filing a claim and represent you in court, if necessary. 

Parties That May Be Involved in a Business Travel Injury Claim

Depending on why and how your injury happened, several parties may be involved in your personal injury claim. This may include your employer if their negligence contributed to the incident. 

It may also involve your travel insurance provider if you have coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. If a third party, like another driver or hotel owner, is responsible for your injury, they are liable for damages and will be part of the injury claim.

Lastly, if you have workers’ compensation, it may cover medical bills and wage replacement while you wait for the outcome of the personal injury claim. 

Your Employer’s Role in Preventing Personal Injury

Many personal injuries while traveling for business can be avoided if employers take their duty of care more seriously. 

Companies should have a travel safety policy that outlines expectations regarding employee behavior while on a business trip. It should also detail the steps to take during an unexpected emergency. 

Moreover, companies that care for their employees should not neglect to take out travel insurance for those who travel for work. Employers should, at the very least, assess the risks associated with all business trips and give employees the information and assistance they need to avoid these risks. 

If needed, companies should provide travel safety training to help employees navigate unfamiliar destinations and stay safe while on business trips.

Staying Safe While on a Business Trip 

Even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Employers can do everything right, only for you to still suffer an injury on a business trip. This is why it is crucial to understand your legal rights should this happen to you. If you and your employer work together, you will be well-prepared for every trip and enjoy a safer experience each time.