What happens when you, or some of your colleagues, accidentally get injured while going for a work break, or lunch?
Are you eligible for workers compensation? What does workers compensation mean?
What are the exceptions to this rule? Complexities can arise in certain cases, including those that involve injuries that happen off the clock, or during a break.
Workers compensation is an insurance program that covers employees who sustain injuries on the job or develop illnesses related to the job. Most employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance, which helps employees who have sustained a work-related injury recover lost wages and other accommodations. The types of injuries compensate under worker’s comp are those which can be connected in some way to an employment requirement.
Requirements for Coverage
If you are seeking workers compensation benefits, you will have to show that your injury or illness is work-related. If you were doing something for the benefit of your employer, and you were injured or became ill as a result, then your injury or illness is work-related and you can receive benefits as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements. In contrast, if you left the job site to run a personal errand or to get something to eat and were injured, this injury is likely not compensate as it is not within the scope of employment.
A lawyer can help protect the injured worker’s rights and pursue workers compensation benefits on the worker’s behalf. If the worker’s claim is initially denied, a workers compensation lawyer can help with the appeals process.
Although the “work-related” requirement may seem like a simple rule, it can get tricky. Some common situations are covered below. If your injury or illness falls into a gray area, you may want to consult with an attorney to find out whether you will be eligible for benefits.
Usually, injuries or illnesses that happen on an employee’s lunch break are not covered under workers compensation. For example, if you sprained your ankle while walking into a deli to pick up your lunch, then you probably cannot claim workers compensation for that injury. However, if you were also picking up lunch for your boss, then the injury might be covered.
Many companies sponsor special events like parties, picnics, or baseball games and injuries sustained at these events are usually covered by workers compensation.
If you are injured on your commute to or from work, your injury probably isn’t covered by workers compensation. However, there are many times when injuries during travel are covered. For example, if you are traveling for work then your injuries will probably be covered.
If you were injured while breaking a workplace safety rule or while doing something else that your employer has prohibited (even a criminal act), your injury may still be covered by workers compensation, depending on the level of your misconduct.
Mental conditions that are job-related are covered by workers compensation. Conditions caused by a stressful workplace environment can also be compensate. In addition, if you become depressed because you have suffered from a workplace injury, that depression is covered by workers compensation.
Diseases and Illnesses
If you have a disease or illness resulting from your work, then you are entitled to workers compensation.
In order to collect workers compensation benefits, you must prove that your injury or illness arose as a direct result of performing required job duties, or as a direct result of your employment relationship. You do not need to prove that your employer was negligent or careless in any way in order to collect workers comp benefits, and even your own negligence won’t disqualify you as long as your behavior did not violate company policy. However, you do need to have been working. This means that injuries that occur on a lunch break are generally not going to qualify you for workers compensation benefits except in special circumstances.
Injuries That Are Not Covered
While workers compensation is designed to provide extensive protection to employees, as mentioned, there are some exceptions to the types of injuries that will be included. For example, in general, you will not be covered for injuries sustained while traveling to or from work.
Injuries during your lunch break are also not covered injuries unless, for example, you’re “on-call” during your lunch break or on a business lunch. Injuries you suffer while playing a basketball game with your work friends on your day off or attending voluntary party outside of work with your co-workers, or boss, that had no bearing on your job, may also not entitle you to workers compensation benefits.