Workers Compensation Claims
Is Your Injury Work-Related: Part One
Black and Davison
In Pennsylvania, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must show that the injury suffered occurred during the course of your employment. In many instances, there’s little doubt that the accident was tied to your job. There are, however, some situations where the connection may not be as clear, or where your employer may try to argue that the injury wasn’t work-related.
Injuries that Happen When You Are on a Scheduled Break
Labor laws require that most employees be given periodic breaks, including time off for meals. If you slip and fall when in the break room or while grabbing some lunch in the company cafeteria, can your employer argue that you were off the clock and, therefore, not entitled to workers’ compensation?
The answer, as with most things, depends to some degree on the circumstances of your case. As a general rule, if you are still on company premises and taking an authorized break, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for any injuries suffered, even if you were required to punch off the clock for your break. On the other hand, if you leave company premises for a meal or for any other reason during a break, any injuries sustained would not be covered by workers’ compensation, unless you can show that you were on a company-related errand at the time.
Injuries Sustained While Traveling for Work
Any injuries incurred on your way to or from work are generally excluded from eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. If you travel daily for work, any injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident or other mishap while traveling will probably be covered, unless you were engaged in a wholly or primarily personal task at the time. For example, if you work as a traveling salesperson, injuries in accidents while you are traveling from one customer to another are covered. But if you make a diversion to pick up dry cleaning or go to a medical appointment, injuries suffered on the diversion most likely would not be covered.