Are Injuries During Breaks Covered by Worker’s Comp?
When you’re hurt on the job in Pennsylvania and can’t work, you have a right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. To qualify for workers’ compensation, there are only two requirements—you must suffer an injury, and the injury must be work-related. That means it must happen in the course of your duties or while you are on the job.
In many instances, there’s little dispute that an injury is work-related. If you slip and fall while doing your job or are hurt when a machine or piece of equipment malfunctions, it’s clear that your injury is work-related. But in a number of situations, there might be questions about whether you were on the job at the time. In this blog, we’ll look at one of them—injuries suffered during a break
Injuries Suffered During a Break
Under state and federal labor law, employees are permitted periodic breaks, including a lunch break, based on the number of hours worked. What if you slip and fall in the lunchroom, or cut your hand on a soda machine? You weren’t actually working at the time—can you still get worker’s comp benefits?
As a general rule, the answer is yes. Periodic breaks are considered part of your employment. You may be prohibited from collecting benefits if you were engaged in horseplay or clearly violating company policy at the time of your injury, but otherwise you should be covered.
The rules are a little different, though, if you leave the employer’s premises for a break. For example, if you leave the facility to go to lunch, and you get in a car accident, you most likely won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits, unless you were performing work-related duties at the time. If your boss asked you to leave the premises and pick up food for co-workers, you would be covered.
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have protected the rights of injured workers in Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, email, and videoconference. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.