Lunch is supposed to be a time where you can clear your head and refuel your body for the rest of your work shift, but thousands of workers in Minnesota end up injured during their lunch break each year. Whether they accidently cut themselves with a knife while peeling fruit or they slipped on a wet spot in the break room, lunch period injuries are quite common in Minnesota. If you are injured during lunch, is it considered a compensable workers’ compensation injury, or since you weren’t on the clock, would it not fall under the workers’ compensation umbrella? In today’s blog, we discuss whether or not you’re eligible for workers’ compensation if you are injured during your lunch break in Minnesota.
Are Lunch Break Injuries Eligible For Workers’ Compensation?
Like so many things in the world of workers’ compensation, the answer to the above question is not always black and white. Whether or not your injuries are eligible for compensation will depend on a number of individual factors, but oftentimes an injury that occurs during a lunch break or similar authorized break is not eligible for compensation. If you cut yourself peeling your orange at lunch, your company isn’t responsible for that injury because the injury did not arise directly out of your employment and your work duties.
However, if you can make a case that you were performing work duties at the time of your accident, you could absolutely get workers’ compensation even though you were injured on a break. Here are a couple of examples of situations where the individual would be eligible for workers’ compensation even though they were injured on their lunch break.
Example 1 – Your boss ordered pizza for the team, and he sends you down to the lobby to grab the pizzas and bring them up to the office. You punch out for lunch and head downstairs, only to trip in the stairwell and fracture your ankle. Even though you had already punched out for lunch at the time of the accident, you were still performing a work duty – grabbing lunch for the team – and it was a request made by your boss. You could receive workers’ compensation in this situation. However, if you ordered a sub for just yourself and tripped in the stairwell going downstairs, you may have a tough time collecting compensation.
Example 2 – You are headed to lunch at a nearby restaurant when your boss asks you if you could drop off some paperwork at a client’s house on your way back. En route to deliver the paperwork, you are involved in a car accident. Workers’ compensation would likely pay out compensation in this scenario.
Example 3 – During one of your breaks, you head to grab a drink from the water cooler in the break room. You’re talking with another co-worker as you approach the water cooler and don’t see the puddle that has formed underneath. You slip on the puddle and end up hurting your back. Even though you were on your break, your company is required to maintain a safe workspace for employees, and you should be able to collect compensation.
Every situation will be unique, and because insurance companies oftentimes like to deny claims that aren’t extremely straightforward, it’s in your best interest to have your claim handled by a professional if you were injured while on a lunch or similar authorized break. If you were performing work duties or an office hazard contributed to your injuries, you absolutely have compensation options, and you shouldn’t assume that you are out of luck simply because you weren’t on the clock at the moment of injury.
Instead, connect with a lawyer like Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm and get the compensation you deserve. Let us handle the insurance company so that you can focus on your health and your family after an on-the-job injury. For more information about getting compensation for lunch break injuries, or for help with a more standard injury claim, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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