Is Your Injury or Illness Work Related?

Usually, injuries that happen on an employee’s lunch break are not considered work related. For example, you probably can’t claim workers’ comp for spraining your ankle while walking to a deli to pick up your lunch (or lunch for your coworkers). But the injury might be covered if you were also picking up lunch for your boss.

If you were hurt while eating lunch on the company’s premises (especially in an employee cafeteria or lunchroom), the injury will generally be considered work related. But it probably won’t be covered if you were doing something during the lunch break that wasn’t allowed or fell within other exceptions to workers’ comp coverage.

Many companies sponsor special events like parties, picnics, or baseball games. Injuries sustained at these events are usually considered work related. But some states make an exception if the employer doesn’t expect employees to participate in the off-duty events. Also, workers’ comp generally doesn’t cover injuries sustained during your commute to or from work. There are exceptions to this rule, however, including while driving a company vehicle required to bring your own car for business use during the work day, doing special errands for your employer, traveling on a business trip, or an employee who regularly travels for work or doesn’t have a regular, fixed work site.

If you were injured while breaking a workplace safety rule or while doing something else that your employer has prohibited, your injury might still be covered by workers’ comp, depending on the level of your misconduct and where you live. This is part of the workers’ compensation bargain: Employees do not have the right to sue their employer for work-related injuries, but those injuries are usually covered by workers’ comp, regardless of fault. Workers’ comp usually doesn’t cover injuries that happen because the employee was drunk or using illegal drugs.

Workers’ comp may also cover cumulative injuries developed over time (such as repetitive strain or stress injuries or RSIs), occupational diseases and other illnesses resulting from long-term on-the-job exposure, and physical or psychological illnesses resulting from workplace stress. But in these cases, it may be difficult to prove that the injury or illness is work related. The rules may also vary from state to state, especially when it comes to stress-related and emotional illnesses. To learn more, see Injuries and Illnesses Covered by Workers’ Compensation.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have been exposed to silica and its harmful effects, contact HURT-511 for more information on workers’ comp statute and our personal injury lawyers help injured workers recover the benefits to which they are entitled by law. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, call us toll-free at 800-4878-511 or complete our online form. Our firm handles accident and injury claims throughout all five boroughs of New York.

HURT-511 operates in all boroughs of New York including all Bronx neighborhoods, namely: Bedford Park, Belmont, Fordham, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge, Morris Park, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Parkchester, Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Throgs Neck, University Heights and Woodlawn.