If you take a lunch break on-location, in an area set up by your employer for this exact purpose, and get injured there, it may be possible to be eligible for workers compensation.
Injured workers in Missouri can file a claim for workers compensation and get treatment for their injuries or illnesses. However, as with any law, there are certain limits to its applicability.
And when it comes to being injured during a lunch break, many workers wonder if they are still covered by the policy. And the answer is not that simple.
Workers Compensation Rules in Missouri
Per the Missouri law, workers compensation covers any injury or illness of the worker caused by their work activity, or because of exposure to various elements in the work environment. The laws state that employers have an obligation to create a safe work environment for their employees, and this insurance policy helps workers pay their medical bills and receive lost wages.
But the matters get a bit more complicated during the worker’s lunch break. It is already known that the policy does not cover worker’s transit to and from their place of work. But, when it comes to injuries sustained during the lunch break, it’s necessary to analyze the exact circumstances of the event to see whether you’d be eligible for these benefits.
The laws state that the injury or illness must take place “within the scope” of the job. As such, it will cover any issues that arise from the work activity or environment. If you lift a heavy object and hurt your back, you are covered. If you develop a respiratory condition because of your daily exposure to certain chemicals on the job, you are also covered.
But the lunch break, even if approved by the employer, is not an activity within the scope of your employment – you are off the clock. However, the “where” and “why” of the issue may turn that around. For instance, if you take a lunch break on-location, in an area set up by your employer for this exact purpose, and get injured there, it’s possible to be eligible for workers comp, as you are still on your employer’s property. If you go to lunch at a restaurant outside this property, then you will not be eligible for compensation.
Furthermore, if the injury was caused because of something in the work area, then you may still apply for workers compensation even if you were on a lunch break. If you take a break for lunch, go to the area where you’d normally do so, and the chair breaks, hurting your leg in the process because of the fall, you may have an eligible claim. As the lunch area was created by your employer, they are also responsible to ensure it is safe. If it’s not, then they are liable for legal action, which is generally when workers compensation steps in to avoid these types of proceedings.
If Your Claim is Denied – What Should You Do?
If you have been injured at work, even during your lunch break, you may be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits. However, if you submit a claim it is likely that your claim will initially be denied. This is because the insurance company is not on your side. If they can deter you from receiving benefits, they most certainly will try.
If your claim has been denied, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. For more than 20 years we have helped injured workers and their families receive the benefits they need and deserve. Do not let the insurance company deny you what’s rightfully yours.