Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation for Injuries on Break?

On-the-job injuries are covered by Illinois workers’ compensation laws, which provide that an employee is generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. But what about injuries that happen while an employee is on a break or off the workplace premises – is workers’ compensation for injuries on break available?

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (IWCA) provides injured workers with benefits that cover necessary and related medical expenses, compensation for lost wages, and benefits for disabilities that occur after a workplace accident. Injured workers are generally entitled to these benefits regardless of fault. A workers’ compensation claim replaces a personal injury claim, meaning employees can only file both if there are extenuating circumstances surrounding the accident. These provisions extend to injuries sustained on break when the accident occurred during the “scope of employment.”

If I Get Hurt on Break at Work, Can I Still Get Workers’ Comp?

The good news is that most break-time injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If your break involves an activity that is for your own personal comfort or health, such as eating or using the restroom, then the accident or injury might still be considered an “on the job” injury and will be covered by workers’ compensation laws. For instance, if you suffer a burn or food poisoning while using the employer’s cafeteria, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your injury.

Workers’ compensation isn’t limited to those accidents and injuries that are sustained in the workplace premises. For instance, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident while walking to your car in the company parking lot during a break, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation because you were still on the job. Additionally, if you are a traveling employee and are injured in a slip and fall accident in another location – perhaps even another city or state – while engaged in work-related travel, you may still be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation for Injuries on Break

There are some exceptions to this general rule, however. If, for instance, the injuries occurred while an employee was engaged in an activity that is not generally performed during a work break, then the injured worker may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

What Are the Requirements for Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois?

So, what are the requirements for workers’ compensation eligibility? Nearly 91% of employees in Illinois are covered under workers’ comp benefits. It is a legal requirement for employers to retain workers’ compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries. For an employee’s injury to be covered under workers’ compensation, the following conditions must be met:

  • The employer’s business must be covered by the law, and the worker must be an employee of the business.
  • The injury or illness must be sustained during the course of employment or work-related duties.
  • The accident, illness, or injury must be reported to the employer within the specified amount of time.

Although “off the clock” injuries – including lunch breaks, break-times, and business travel – may still be covered by workers’ compensation laws, insurance companies often deny these claims at the outset. A skilled Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer like those at Ankin Law can help to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you get the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve.

Additional Reading About Illinois Workers’ Compensation

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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