Ohio Workers’ Comp: What Happens If You’re Hurt on Your Lunch Break?

Workers’ compensation is designed to help employees who have been injured while doing their jobs. So what happens if you have an accident during your lunch break? In some cases, you may still be able to claim Ohio workers’ comp benefits.

In most instances, an insurance company will automatically refute a claim for workers’ compensation after an accident that occurred during lunch. While accidents during lunch are generally not covered by workers’ comp, there are exceptions which we’ll look at in this article.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Ohio in 2019, there were more than 91,000 non-fatal injuries, much more than the national average of 2.8 injuries per 100 full-time employees.

Ohio Workers’ Comp Generally Doesn’t Cover Injuries During Lunch

Employers should not request that their employees complete tasks during their lunch break or after hours, as they are usually permitted under labor laws to use their lunch break as they please, whether it is for lunch or not.

Injuries are covered by workers’ compensation if they occur because of the work you’re performing and if they arise in the course of employment. An injury in the course of employment simply means that you were on the clock and performing the duties you’ve been paid to do.

Injuries during a lunch break generally don’t meet these criteria and are therefore not covered by workers’ compensation. However, there are certain exceptions.

There May Be a Few Exceptions:

Most lunch break accidents are not covered by Ohio workers’ comp. However, there are certain exceptions.

When you suffer a workplace injury at lunch, you can still seek compensation if:

  • You Were in the Break Room:

The employer is still responsible for maintaining all parts of your workplace, including the breakroom. If you were injured in the breakroom during your lunch break, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Courts have previously ruled that injuries that occur during lunch at the workplace qualify for compensation.

The best course of action is to contact an Ohio workers’ comp lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you on your options.

  • You Were Injured by a Coworker:

The respondeat superior also obligates your employer to be accountable for the actions of their on-duty employees in a reasonable manner. Your employer may still be responsible if you are injured because of your coworker’s mistake while having lunch. Such an act effectively triggers the employers’ liability to provide compensation to their workers.

  • Your Job Required You to Run an Errand:

Sometimes, bosses and employers send employees on errands during lunchtime. For example, you might have been asked to pick up sandwiches from the rotisserie next door. Regardless of whether you are on duty, if you are performing a duty that could be reasonably considered work-related; such as picking up a food order for your boss, you would be covered by workers’ compensation.

Contact Us for Your Ohio Workers’ Comp:

You should always contact an Ohio workers’ comp lawyer after a workplace injury to better understand your options. Whether you were injured during your lunch break or not, our law firm would like to hear from you. Please call us to speak to one of our friendly professionals and schedule a free consultation or send us an email.