Do I qualify to receive workers’ compensation if I get hurt on my break?
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover the costs of any work-related injuries or accidents that occur on the job. Although each state has its own specific regulations, most states tend to define a work-related as something that either arises out of employment or occurs during the course of employment. Unfortunately, this definition can be quite tricky in cases where an employee is injured while on break or during lunch.
Injuries That Occur on Break
The term work-related leads to quite a bit of legal ambiguity when it comes to injuries that occur while on a break. Ultimately, it is often up to a Hearing Officer to determine whether or not an injury qualifies under the state’s workers’ compensation program. This is especially true when the injury occurs over the course of a lunch break. However, the law is usually a bit clearer where it concerns injuries that occur during a standard break.
Employers are legally required to provide their employees with a fifteen minute break or rest period for every four hours worked. As a result, these rest periods are still considered an actual part of the job, which means that these breaks are a part of the normal ‘course of employment.’ For this reason, most states choose to treat injuries that occur during these rest periods in the same way as they would treat any other injuries that occur on the job. This means that these injuries typically should be covered by workers’ compensation. However, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case, and it may be necessary to hire a lawyer to help prove that your break was technically work-related.
Injuries That Occur During the Lunch Break
Employees are also technically required to provide their employees with a lunch break. However, whereas the shorter breaks are supposed to be paid breaks, employers do not have a legal right to pay their employees over their lunch break. Unfortunately, the fact that an employee is off the clock during their lunch usually means that many injuries that occur over the lunch break cannot be considered to happen in the course of employment. This means that many injuries that occur during lunch will not be covered under workers’ compensation, unless they occur on premises in Ohio.
Nonetheless, there are numerous employees who have successfully argued that a lunch break is something that technically ‘arises out of employment’ and, as such, been allowed to receive workers’ compensation for injuries that occurred during their lunch break. That being said, the case generally has a far better chance of being successful if the accident or injury occurred at the office or job site instead of somewhere else.
Typically, there is almost zero chance that workers’ compensation would ever cover an injury that occurred during lunch when the employee was at a restaurant or anywhere other than their workplace. On the other hand, courts have previously ruled that injuries that occurred at the workplace over lunch do qualify for workers’ compensation.
In truth, injuries that occur while on a break can be incredibly tricky in terms of workers’ compensation benefits. For this reason, it is recommended that anyone who suffers an injury while on break or lunch seeks the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to improve their chances of having their claim accepted. While there is no guarantee that workers’ comp will cover the injury, a lawyer usually increases the chances of this happening.