Injuries Suffered While on a Break | Injuries Sustained While Traveling
When you’ve suffered an injury or contracted an illness related to your job, you have the right to seek compensation for your inability to work, and to recover reimbursement for any out-of-pocket medical expenses. In Texas, that will most likely be through a workers’ compensation claim. Though Texas employers may opt out of the state’s workers’ compensation program, nearly three of every four employers are subscribers.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in the Lone Star State, you must meet only two requirements: you must show that you have been hurt and you must prove that your injuries were sustained in the course of your employment.
Injuries Suffered While on a Sanctioned Break
While neither Texas state law nor federal labor law require coffee or lunch breaks, most employers offer one or both. What are your rights if you suffer an injury in the break room—you cut yourself slicing a bagel or you are burned by hot coffee? What if you take a bathroom break and slip on a wet floor in the restroom? Can you pursue workers’ compensation benefits if you are unable to work or have medical expenses?
As a general rule, when your employer permits bathroom, coffee or smoke breaks, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for injuries suffered during that break, provided you weren’t engaging in conduct that would be prohibited by company policy or that would be considered as horseplay. Even if it’s horseplay, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you were an innocent victim of the behavior.
Your eligibility for workers’ compensation may change, however, if you leave the premises of your employer. For example, if you go out to a restaurant for lunch and are involved in a car accident, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you are picking up lunch for co-workers or for your boss, or running some other type of work errand while you are away from the job, you may qualify for work comp.
Injuries Suffered While Traveling for Work
As a general rule, you cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained on your commute to or from work. If your employer asks you to stop and conduct some work-related task—drop off a package, stop at the post office or pick up donuts—you may be able to recover if you had to deviate from your normal route and the injuries were suffered as a result. Furthermore, if you call on accounts out of the office, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation for injuries suffered in an accident on your way to a business appointment.
If you are required to attend business meetings, conferences, seminars or training, you can recover workers’ compensation for most injuries sustained while traveling to the work-related event or while attending the event. That includes injuries suffered at a restaurant or in your hotel. However, if you engage in wholly personal activities—go to a gym or do some personal shopping—and you are injured, you likely won’t qualify for benefits.
Contact the Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we will aggressively help you pursue full and fair compensation when you have been hurt on the job. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.