Frolic or Detour? Why Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Could Be RejectedNot everyone has a standard nine to five job in an office with a planned, paid lunch break each day. Jobs that leave you to your own devices can give you a false sense of security if you were to become injured on the job.

Why? Because not every activity during your workday is sanctioned as work-related. That means there are activities you may be engaging in that won’t be covered by workers’ compensation should you get hurt while doing them.

The difference between a frolic and detour can be costly

Both a frolic and a detour equate to performing activities outside the scope of your employment. The difference is that a frolic that ends in injury can leave you empty handed when it comes to a workers’ compensation claim.

  • A detour is a small departure away from your normal employment duties, but it still relates to acting within the scope of your employment. If you are injured while taking a detour, you will still be covered by workers’ compensation.
  • A frolic is a larger departure from your employment duties that you take for your own benefit. Because it then falls outside the scope of your employment, you would have to come out of pocket to cover your own injuries.

In either of these cases, you may need to prove to your employer and the insurance carrier that the actions that put you in the position to become injured equated to a legitimate detour in the furtherance of your work responsibilities.

What activities are considered a frolic versus a detour?

Everyone has a moment at some point during their workday where they try to slip some personal business in unnoticed. It is human nature and with an ever-increasing demand on your time, it can be tough to fit responsibilities from both worlds into your day. Then there are things you need to do to get through your workday and get the job done right that require taking matters into your own hands sometimes. Below are some examples of frolics and detours to help give you some guidance on what might not be worth the risk.


  • Going to the gym. Unless your occupation requires you to be physically fit to perform your duties, sneaking off to the gym is probably not the best idea during the workday. You could easily become involved in a car accident anywhere and anytime.
  • Stopping by your home. Checking on a sick child or a contractor finally building that sun room you’ve wanted for years is completely unrelated to your job. If you trip and fall over a pile of toys or a stack of lumber that causes a traumatic brain injury, medical care is going to come out of your own pocket.
  • Coffee run. Making a special trip for that pumpkin spiced latte in the example above won’t be covered either. If you spill hot coffee in your lap and end up with a serious burn injury, just the fact that you drove out of your way to pick up something special for yourself is going to make it hard to claim as a work-related injury.


  • Running to an office supply store that you had print materials for a work-related presentation you’re giving should be covered if you are injured going to or from the business because you are only making that trip to help you perform your job.
  • Making a trip home to change clothes for a client meeting after spilling something on your suit.
  • Picking up breakfast or lunch for your department’s weekly staff meeting.

Going out of your way to engage in fun activities as you are doing your job might be a coin flip as to whether you will be covered for any injuries you sustain. One example that has become somewhat publicized is “Pups of Jay” on Instagram. Jay is an animal-loving UPS driver located in New Orleans who has taken hundreds if not thousands of photos with dogs along his delivery route. While it is very possible that at some point he could become a dog bite victim, since UPS doesn’t seem to have told him to stop, it very likely would be covered under a workers’ compensation claim.

When you get hurt during the course of your work day while doing something you believe is work-related, you need an experienced attorney on your side who can help you prove that the injury should fall under a workers’ compensation claim. Without proper legal guidance, you may end up with costly medical expenses and injuries you cannot afford to fully treat.

Look to the client-focused Mississippi workers’ compensation attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. to help protect your rights. Schedule your free consultation by calling 662-302-2979, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. We operate offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford in addition to proudly serving clients in the City of Tupelo.