Can you get workers’ comp if you are injured while on break?

Workers’ compensation covers medical expenses and lost wages associated with a job-related injury. Without this system, workers risk incurring costly treatments and employers are vulnerable to lawsuits.

However, there is a gray area for those injured while on break. Depending on your situation, your employer’s insurance may deny your claim.

Work-related duties

Workers’ compensation coverage applies to injuries that occur while on the job. Typically, that means you were doing a job-related task. Sometimes, your employer may ask you to do something even while you are on a scheduled break. If that leads to an injury, you could file a claim and receive compensation.

Personal time

If you suffered an injury during your lunch break while on-site, you may be able to seek compensation. You are responsible for your own safety while off the clock, and insurers commonly deny these claims at first because the injury is not technically related to a job task. However, you could appeal the denial or file a separate personal injury lawsuit, especially if you can provide proof of negligence.

Workers’ comp exemptions

Depending on your employment, your employer may or may not cover you. New Jersey commonly offers workers’ comp exemptions for independent contractors and unpaid workers. If you fall into either of these categories, you may only have your own insurance to protect you, and generally, standard health insurance policies do not cover work-related injuries. Always check with your employer to make sure they have workers’ compensation insurance.

No matter what, try to file a workers’ compensation claim right after you sustain an injury at work so you can receive benefits as quickly as possible.