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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover an Injury That Happens on a Break?

warehouse workers on lunch breakWorker’s compensation is meant to provide benefits to a worker who was injured while performing a job-related duty.

But what about injuries that happen while you are on break? Will worker’s compensation cover such injuries? These are valid questions to which workers need to know the answers.

Our Harrisburg-based worker’s compensation lawyers discuss certain scenarios where an injury may or may not be eligible for worker’s comp benefits during a break. We are here to provide the answers you need. We have helped many injured workers over the years secure benefits.

The initial consultation we offer is free of charge and comes with no obligation to hire us. If you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, there are no upfront fees and no fees while we work the case.

Proven Results. Millions Recovered. Ph: (717) 727-2669.

What If I Am Injured at Work While on a Break?

Workers can get injured during a break getting coffee or snacks, going to the restroom, taking a short walk, or going outside for some fresh air. For instance, a worker may trip and fall, hurting his or her back. However, if you get injured on a break but you were not actually working, can you claim a work injury?

Generally, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act has been interpreted in a way that grants benefits if an injury happened during a break. Even though an employee is on break, he or she could still be considered to be furthering the employer’s business.

However, this rationale is likely only going to apply if the worker took his or her break on work premises. If the worker leaves the office or place of work, the injury is unlikely to be covered by workers’ compensation.

Another situation when workers’ compensation is unlikely to apply is if the employee did something that was foreign to his or her employment. For example, if the employee got injured while jumping down the stairs, it is unlikely to be covered by workers’ compensation.

When at work, it benefits you and your employer for you to take mental breaks, use the restroom and get refreshments. Taking a break during the workday can help with one’s well-being and job performance.

Being At Work is Considered Being on Duty

You are generally considered on duty during your normal work hours. If you took a break in your company’s break room or cafeteria when injured, you may be eligible for worker’s comp benefits.

It is often deemed a benefit to the employer when workers stay onsite for a coffee or rest break. It saves time and allows an employee to remain accessible to an employer. If you are injured on the premises after a fall in the parking lot or slip down the stairs, you may also be covered during that downtime.

If you went off the premises, worker’s compensation will likely not cover an injury that happens on a break. For instance, walking to a convenience store for a snack or going across the street to the coffee shop. The only exception would be performing a job-related task and sustaining an injury while on break. Perhaps your employer asked you to pick up some office supplies while you were on a coffee break.

Factors to Determine If an Injury is Compensable

If there is evidence connecting your injury to the workplace, worker’s compensation may be available. Several factors can be considered to determine if an injury is compensable, such as:

  • The length of your break period
  • If you were paid during your break
  • Whether your employer provided a place to take breaks
  • Whether your employer provided on-site vending machines
  • Whether your employer allowed off-premises breaks

If you were injured off site, the proximity between your workplace and the off-premises location may also be taken into consideration. An experienced lawyer at our firm is ready to review your work injury claim and help determine your eligibility for worker’s compensation benefits.

What If My Break-Time Injury is Not Covered?

Should worker’s compensation not cover your injury, you may have a few options.

If your break-time injury happened due to another’s actions, you may be able to receive compensation from that person. If that person refuses to pay for your medical costs, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. If you were injured by a third party – not a co-worker or employer – you may be able to file a third-party claim in addition to a worker’s compensation claim for a work-connected injury.

Get Help Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim

At Schmidt Kramer, we understand how a work injury can impact you physically and financially. Our lawyers have decades of combined legal experience fighting for injured workers’ rights. We are well-versed in Pennsylvania’s worker’s compensation laws and how they may apply to your situation.

Our initial consultations come at no cost, risk or obligation to you. We do not get paid unless you do. We are available anytime, day or night, to take your call and answer any questions you may have.

We Are Here to Help. Call (717) 727-2669.