FREE CONSULTATION (314) 361-4300

Injured During Your Lunch Break – Do You Qualify for Workers Compensation?

The facts surrounding an incident can make or break a workers compensation case.

Workers compensation insurance is mandatory in Missouri for businesses with more than five employees. And, that’s great! Imagine having to worry about every little thing and not able to perform your job properly, afraid that if something happens, you may go bankrupt. With workers compensation, you have the peace of mind that in case of an accident, you will receive the necessary funds to cover your medical treatment, as well as account for missed days at work. And the employers know they generally won’t be liable for any suit because of the accident.

However, keep in mind that workers compensation is, after all, an insurance policy, which means it applies under certain conditions.

st. louis workers on break

What Does the Law Say?

Missouri workers compensation law states that employees are covered for injuries or diseases caused by their work environment or sustained under the scope of their employment. Therefore, you’ll have to prove you’ve sustained your injuries while you were working to be covered by the insurance. For instance, if you are operating a piece of machinery and it malfunctions, then you are entitled to workers compensation for your injuries. The policy even applies to employees who, as part of the work, must travel to different locations. If the injuries are sustained while in transit, it’s likely still eligible for workers compensation, as the employee was in transit because of their work.

Matters get a bit more complicated when injuries take place while the employee is on a break, be it a long lunch break, or just a 5-minute one. There is no clear mention of breaks in the workers compensation framework, which can generally mean the courts have to take into account all the details of the case until a decision can be made.

You should also know that in the state of Missouri, employers are not obligated to offer their workers breaks of any kind, including lunch hours. If your company does, it most likely means the contract you’ve signed with the employer specifically includes breaks, and you should take a look to see if there are any extra previsions about it.

What Should You Do if You Are Injured?

The best option for you in this case is to speak with an attorney who deals with both personal injury and work injury claims. Since the law does not explicitly state how workers compensation should be applied when the employee is at work, it’ll most likely mean the injured party will have to argue that the policy applies during breaks as well.

For instance, if you took a lunch break outside of the workspace, at a nearby restaurant, it’s unlikely that you will get workers compensation. If, however, the lunch break took place at your office, and the injury was caused by the office environment (a broken chair, for instance), a lawyer can argue that constituted a work injury.

The facts surrounding the incident can make or break the case. A St. Louis workers compensation lawyer can help build an argument in your favor. They will analyze your situation and see whether it’s possible to make a claim for workers compensation, help you file a claim, and represent you in case the insurance company rejects your claim. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4300 for a FREE Consultation.

Updated: February 25, 2019