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Workers’ Compensation for Injuries on Lunch or Breaks

taking a lunch break in a warehouseA simple way to understand eligibility for workers’ compensation is this: if you get hurt while you are performing duties within the scope of your job, you should be able to access benefits.

Things get more complicated when workers suffer injuries on breaks or while they are taking lunch. You might automatically assume injuries that occur during these times are not covered, but it is not necessarily so simple.

The dedicated attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell can discuss your work injury and whether workers’ compensation is available in your particular case during a free consultation. There is no cost or obligation, so this is a completely risk-free meeting.

Acting in Your Interest or the Employer’s

If you are injured during your lunch or break, whether you receive workers’ compensation often depends on whether you were acting in your own interest or your employer’s interest at the time of the accident. If you were completing an errand for your boss during this time, your claim may fall within workers’ compensation coverage. However, if you left the job site to run a personal errand or to get something to eat and you were injured at this time, your injury likely will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Some ways that you may be acting in your employer’s interests during a lunch or rest break include the following:

  • Picking up lunch for your employer
  • Picking up supplies
  • Running an errand for your boss
  • Picking up food for a company-sponsored party

Because these claims can depend on intricate and nuanced factors, it is important to work closely with a knowledgeable Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with these rules. 

Where Did You Take Your Lunch?

The location where you took your lunch can also have a significant impact on your claim. California courts have ruled in favor of employees who were injured while on the employer’s premises during lunchtime while finding that the injury was not covered when it occurred at a restaurant or other location away from the jobsite.

One reason why the location matters is because of federal guidelines. According to OSHA standards, an injury is considered work-related if the injury occurred in the work environment. The work environment is further defined as the location where one or more employees are working during the course of their work day as a condition of their employment. If the employee was not on the jobsite and was injured, this will likely be considered not at the work environment and not subject to coverage under workers’ compensation benefits.

Another reason why the location of the injury matters is more closely tied to the first condition. California courts have interpreted it that when employees stay on the premises, this benefits the employer. Workers can be supervised in this environment and may be on call for work. If the employee eats off premises, this will usually indicate that the employee is acting in his or her own interest.

Additional factors may be relevant in determining if the injury is covered under workers’ compensation when injured on the employer’s jobsite, such as when an employee eats in the employer’s cafeteria and:

  • Gets food poisoning
  • Gets burned
  • Slips and falls

Have You Been Injured at Work? Contact Our Attorneys Right Now

If you were injured during a break or lunch, it is critical that you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who may be able to help advance your claim. The dedicated legal team at Berry, Smith & Bartell can thoroughly review your claim, investigate the factors that contributed to your injury and handle communications with the insurance company.

We will work tirelessly to secure the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, there is no risk in contacting us to find out if you might be eligible for benefits. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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