Every workplace has its share of hazards. When these hazards lead to your injuries or illness, you deserve financial restitution through an employer-funded workers’ compensation program.
However, there are a few specific instances when your injuries may not be covered by workers’ compensation. To find out whether the workers’ compensation covers your injuries or not, it helps to understand how this program works.
How workers’ compensation defines a covered injury
Simply put, worker’s compensation covers injuries or illnesses that you suffered within the course or scope of your job. In other words, you must have been engaged in an activity that benefits your employer at the time of your injury. For example, a dishwasher who trips, slips and falls while working in a restaurant’s kitchen would be eligible for damages.
But what if you are injured during lunch break?
If you are hurt while taking a break in your employer’s cafeteria or break room, you might be covered by workers’ compensation as it is considered a benefit to the employer when an employee stays onsite for a rest break or a meal. However, if you are hurt away from work, you will typically not be eligible for compensation unless you were furthering your employer’s interests. For instance, you will be eligible for benefits if the employer asked you to pick up some stationery from the store or drop an invoice to a client during your lunch break.
What if you are hurt while commuting to work?
If you are hurt while traveling to or from work, the “Going and Coming” rule will apply. Per this rule, you may not be covered if you were injured while traveling to or from a fixed work site. However, you may be covered if you do not have a fixed site or if you were running an employer-sanctioned errand.
Protecting your rights
Workers’ compensation can be a welcome relief when you are hurt at work. Knowing your legal options can help you protect your rights while pursuing benefits following a work-related injury or illness.