Course of Employment

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For an injury caused by an accident to be compensable under a workers’ compensation system, the accident must “arise out of employment” and occur “in the course of employment.”

“In the course of employment” refers to the time, place, and circumstances under which an accident occurred. An accident occurs “in the course of employment” when it occurs (1) within the period of employment, (2) at a place where the employee reasonably may be in the performance of the employee's duties, and (3) while the employee is fulfilling the employee's duties or is engaged in something incidental thereto.

The term “arising out of” is narrower than the term “in the course of”. It refers to the origin or cause of the injury. An accident “arises out of” employment when the employment was the cause of the accident which resulted in the injury.

The course of employment is not to be confused with the scope of employment.  The course of employment is broader than the scope of employment. An injury may occur in the course of employment even though it does not occur in the scope of employment.

See also workers compensation.

[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]