Pacific Workers' - Injured on a Lunch Break: Can You Still Get Workers’ Comp?
Was your lunch break disrupted not by a client requesting assistance after hours but by a workplace injury? Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may still be eligible to petition for workers' compensation benefits despite clocking off for lunch.
However, most insurance companies will immediately refuse a workers' compensation claim connected to a lunch break accident. According to them, the coverage they sell only applies when work is being done; however, this is not always the case.
When Injuries May Be Covered
A workplace injury must have occurred during the course of employment, and they must have been acting within the extent of their employment for it to be covered by California's workers' compensation. This means that injuries sustained away from the workplace premises while on lunch are typically not covered.
However, there are several scenarios when it may be covered. Among these are the following:
1. The injury occurred during a rest break - Many provisions that would exclude injuries during lunch breaks would not apply if you were eating during a rest break. For example, suppose a worker takes a 15-minute break to eat something and is injured during that time. Because the length of the break necessitates the employee being on or near the work premises, the injury may be covered.
2. You were on your employer's premises – If you were on an employer's premises in a break area or were off duty but still on the property and you get hurt, it is likely covered. The key is that you were somewhere on or near the place of employment, so this time could include on the premises of fellow employees who are still on the clock, such as a lunch line in the cafeteria.
3. The injury occurred while performing job duties – If you were injured while performing a duty directly associated with your job, it could be covered. This might sound obvious, but it's different than being injured while commuting to work, for instance, so it's worth noting.
4. The injury happened during a working lunch - You may get compensated if you were conducting work-related activities while on lunch, such as attending a corporate meeting when food is provided or having lunch provided by your employee for a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasions.
What to Do If You Get Injured at Work
As you may have seen, workers' compensation regulations are complicated and susceptible to change. As a result, don't instantly assume that you aren't eligible for benefits because of your injury.
If an accident happens, you should notify your employer as quickly as possible. Failure to do so may jeopardize your ability to apply for workers' compensation. It might also be beneficial to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.
As you can see, there are a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to getting compensation after an injury at lunch. Whether you are working out of state or in California, you must know your rights and options.
If you cannot file a claim, you may want to speak with a workers' compensation attorney who can advise you on the best course of action.
Pacific Workers', The Lawyers for Injured Workers can provide you with exceptional services from our Bay Area workers' compensation attorneys. Whether you are filing your claim or appealing a denied one, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-606-6999 for a free consultation!