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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover an Injury That Occurred During a Break or Lunch?

Workers’ Compensation: An Overview

Workers' compensation is an insurance program created to cover workers hurt on the job. Sometimes it is not so clear whether workers' compensation covers a situation, though. One unique question is whether an injury that occurs while an employee is at work but not expected to be working is covered.

Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation is meant to cover employees when they are either hurt on the job or if they fall ill because of it. Every state has their own rules on workers’ compensation, highlighting the importance of consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in your state’s specific laws. While there are some states who require that all employers carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, other states mandate that companies maintain a certain number of employees before they’re eligible to purchase workers’ comp insurance. While there are exceptions to every rule, generally speaking, employers are required to purchase coverage from a licensed insurance company unless they have the means to be self-insured.
There is a public policy trade in workers' compensation. Since filing a workers' compensation claim does not require an employee to prove an employer is at fault, claims are not very difficult and recovery is solely based upon the extent of the employee's injury. However, the compensation received is usually far below what it would be if the employee was to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. While the employer must purchase this insurance, typically it cannot be sued for personal injury by an employee and thus has far less of the possibility of being sued for personal injury claims.

Coverage Requirements

Workers' compensation covers injuries that occur while the employee is working. In essence, the injured individual must be doing work- related activities when the accident occurs and the accident must be caused by something connected to the risks that exist for a particular job. This, of course, creates the issue of whether injuries that occur during lunch or breaks are covered. To make this determination, the courts study the place and time of employment as well as what the injured party was doing when he or she was injured.


Making the determination of coverage sometimes requires determining if an employee was acting in his or her own interest or that of the employer. When an employee is running an errand for an employer or when asked to do so by an employer (in the interest of the employer) he or she will generally be able to collect on a workers' compensation claim if he or she was injured during that activity. On the other hand, if an employee leaves the office and runs a personal errand or to get lunch and is injured he or she is unlikely to recover as he or she is not acting in the interest of the employer.

Where is the Employee When Injured?

While the place where the injury occurred is important, it is not the only thing taken into account when coverage is determined. Not all injuries that occur on the job site are covered and not all injuries that occur elsewhere are not covered.

Contact a Newark Workers' Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case

A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey workers' compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the workers' comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced workers' compensation attorneys at Lombardi & Lombardi, PA represent clients with workplace injuries in Newark, Elizabeth, Edison, Woodbridge, Toms River and throughout New Jersey. Call 732-564-7165 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have offices conveniently located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820 and in Brick, Freehold and Point Pleasant.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.



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