Worker's compensation is designed to protect worker's in the event that they suffer from a serious work-related injury or illness. This accounts for more than 4.1 million workers each year. If you were injured while on the job, the type of evidence and proof you need to submit with your claim is relatively straightforward; however, if you are injured during your lunch break, your eligibility for worker's compensation is not as cut and dried. You will definitely need legal counsel from a worker's compensation attorney to determine how you can strengthen your case. Whether your claim will be approved will depend on a variety of different factors. In particular, the following 3 factors are of utmost importance to your claim.
The Premise where the Accident Happened
Where you take your lunch breaks can have a huge influence on whether your worker's compensation claim is approved or not. In fact, some attorneys would argue that this factor alone can be the primary factor that determines the outcome of your case. If the injury happened while you were taking your lunch break away from the worksite or office, it may not be covered under worker's compensation. For example, if you were walking to a nearby restaurant when you slipped, you are technically not considered to be injured while on the job. However, if you were walking to a nearby restaurant to pick up lunch for your boss or your co-workers at your boss' request, this may be considered as a work-related injury.
Your chances of having your claim approved will be significantly greater if the accident happened while you were taking a lunch break on the employer's premise. This is due to the fact that having you at the office or the cafeteria may be beneficial to your employer. The workplace premise includes all of the buildings, plants or locations where you are entitled to be. For example, this will even include any roads that are under the control and management of your employer for the sole purpose of allowing employees into and out of the workplace.
The Cause of the Accident
The conditions surrounding the accident will also impact your claim. It is particularly important to determine who or what caused the accident, and how the accident caused the injuries that you are experiencing. If the injury is caused by negligence on the part of the employer or another employee, you will also be able to strengthen your worker's compensation case. This is particularly true if the accident is caused by another employer who is actively fulfilling their work obligations and job duties or if the employer is found to be at-fault. This is why it is important to report the accident immediately and to gather as much evidence at the scene of the accident as possible. You want to make sure that your employer cannot refute any of the claims you make about your case.
What You Were Doing at the Time of the Accident
What you were doing before or during the accident will also be taken into consideration. In particular, your worker's compensation attorney will need to determine whether you were breaking any workplace safety rules or committing misconduct during the time you were injured. As you are on your break, your actions will be scrutinized under a magnifying glass. You need to prove that you did not contribute to the accident by putting yourself in a risky or dangerous situation that does not coincide with your work responsibilities and duties.
It's not uncommon for worker's compensation claims for injuries sustained during lunch breaks to be denied. To strengthen your case and prevent it from being rejected, speak with a worker's compensation attorney. He or she will review the circumstances surrounding your case and provide counsel on what you should do next in order to protect your own position.