Injury On A Lunch Break: 5 Scenarios That Could Affect Your Workers Comp Case

Posted on: 30 March 2016

Getting injured on the job includes a lot of factors that can impact your ability to earn workers compensation payments. While working on a daily basis, you are granted lunch breaks to relax and enjoy a meal. Unfortunately, sometimes you can get injured on these breaks and find yourself dealing with a complicated worker's compensation case. When working with an attorney, it's important to break down different factors of the injury, where it occurred, and if your employer is responsible. The following five factors can impact your case and change your eligibility to receive workers comp payments.

Independent Lunch Break

Leaving the work premises for a lunch break often eliminates any liability from your employer for injuries that you have sustained. For example, if you go a fast food restaurant and slip and fall, your employer cannot be held responsible in that situation. This has been shown in court cases, because even though it was during a work day, you chose to go to the restaurant on your own. Even though you may not have a workers comp case in a situation like that, you could have a personal injury case and may seek a lawyer for help.

Lunch Break Group Orders

One of the biggest exceptions to the traveling lunch break is if your company participates in group orders. If the boss or higher-up in your company assigns workers to pick up lunch for everyone, then the employer may be responsible for any injuries that occur. This includes injuries while traveling to or picking up food at the location. In these situations you are performing a service for your employer and technically they could be held responsible. An attorney can help gather evidence on the case including how the group orders were made, who received food, and how often this tradition was done. For example, if this was done every Monday at the office, then it is clearly a regular part of the job and may fall under the employer's responsibility.

Lunch Break Cut Short

Another exception to going out for your lunch break is if the lunch break is cut short by your employer. For example, if you work at a hospital, you may be paged back for a medical emergency. If you are injured or hurt during this transition period, your attorney can help fight for workers compensation benefits. Getting called back on a lunch break is different than an injury while on-call. If you're on-call, the same type of workers comp coverage may not apply. When on-call, your employer is typically not responsible for your location or actions. An attorney can help determine the specific situations and if you have a possible case.

Lunch Break Meetings

A lot of times your lunch break may double as a work meeting. If you are meeting with a supervisor, potential client, or another employee for work matters, then your workers compensation coverage may cover these situations. Even though you are enjoying a lunch, you are actually engaging in business and your employer may be held responsible for any injuries sustained. This includes parking lot injuries, food injuries, or slip and fall accidents. 

Break Room Injuries

If you decide to eat lunch on the work premises, then the employer is most likely still responsible for injuries sustained. For example, injuries caused by employer-owned appliances like a microwave or leaky fridge will likely fall under workers compensation benefits. One of the main reasons for this is that the only reason you are eating on the work premises is because you are working for them. Otherwise, this situation may not have occurred. There are exceptions in every case, and this is why it's important to consult an attorney over your options.

If you aren't sure about your case, click for more information on a local workers compensation attorney.