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Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation if You Got Injured on a Break?

  • Published: July 14, 2023

Any injury can turn your life upside down, cause you to miss work, and result in burdensome medical expenses. You may expect that during work hours, any accident that occurs to you can give you the right to claim coverage through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Work is work, and you may not give a second thought to the fact that if your injury happens while you are on break or off-site during work hours, that may jeopardize your right to seek money through workers’ comp to help you recover.

Workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries when you work, but what happens if you are on a break and suffer an injury? Generally, an injury that happens on a break is not eligible for compensation through a workers’ compensation claim, but there are circumstances where the lines between working and being on a personal break blur. You may have a right to workers’ compensation benefits in some situations that may initially appear to fall outside the parameters for coverage. An experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether you may be eligible and can represent you in a claim.

Generally, Injuries on Breaks Do Not Qualify for Workers’ Comp, but There Are Exceptions

When you are off the clock on a break, you are generally no longer under the control of your employer. Anything that happens during this timeframe is expected to be due to personal actions and activities. After all, you are not engaging in your work duties. For example, if you head to your nearest café for a bite to eat with a friend and suffer a slip and fall, you cannot pursue compensation through your employer’s workers’ comp policy. However, every case is not always as clear.

Work obligations and situations can become muddied, making it more difficult to discern whether or not you may be eligible to seek compensation through a workers’ comp claim for certain losses. Although, in most cases, an injury that happens while on a break may not qualify to file a claim, there are circumstances that arise that may give you the right to proceed with a claim.

Where Did the Injury Occur?

The accident’s location can significantly impact whether or not you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you were off-site or away from your place of employment when the accident happened, there is a likelihood you are outside the scope of coverage. However, if you are a victim of negligence in situations such as a car accident, a slip-and-fall, or other type of injury accident, you may still have avenues to seek compensation through legal action against the parties responsible.

If the injury takes place while you are at a work site or on company property, such as in a break room or a trip to the bathroom, you are still likely able to pursue compensation through a claim. Although you may not be on the clock at the time of the accident, you are still within the control of your employer and on the premises. Your employer has a duty to maintain safe conditions for you and other workers during your time at work, even in common areas such as the lunch room and bathroom.

How Did the Injury Occur?

The events leading up to an injury can influence whether or not you may be able to receive benefits. While heading out to your break or heading back in, you may face unexpected hazards or situations that may cause you debilitating injuries.

When you face dangerous conditions on the employer’s property or suffer an injury at the hands of one of the other parties or workers at the work site, you likely have a basis for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer must maintain safe premises at all times and ensure workers are safe from the negligent and reckless actions of others present at the workplace.

What Activities Were You Engaged in at the Time of the Accident?

A break is not always a true break from work. Although it is often assumed that when an employee is on a lunch break or running an errand, they are on personal time, that is not always the case. Employers may often intrude on a worker’s personal time to ask for work to be done or combine the break with other work duties. For example, going to grab lunch but having to stop for a client or pick up materials per the request of a superior is evidence of an employer maintaining control over a worker’s actions.

When an injury or accident happens during any activity that could be construed as work or carrying out responsibilities for the benefit of the employer, you are likely eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your injury, including considering the activities you were engaged in to determine whether you may have been working at the time and not truly on a break.

Glendale Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at KCNS Law Group Can Answer Your Questions

It is devastating to suffer an injury that affects your life and interrupts your ability to work and carry out your day-to-day responsibilities. When you sustain an injury during your break, you may feel hopeless and unsure of how you will meet the unexpected demands and burdens following your injury. Medical expenses, loss of income, and the need for supportive care can all wreak havoc on your situation.

You should not automatically assume you do not have a right to make a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage. A member of our legal team at KCNS Law Group can go over your case and discuss what options are available to you as a victim of a potential workplace injury. Contact us at (818) 937-9255 or through our contact form.

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