One of the benefits of filing a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey is that you don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent or careless. To qualify for benefits, you need only show that you were injured and that the injury was sustained during the course of your employment. There are situations, however, where you may be uncertain whether an injury was job-related or not. What if you were hurt while taking a break?
Though neither federal nor state law require that your employer provide you with a regular break while on the clock, it’s a fairly common practice. Suppose you slip and fall in the break room or you cut your hand getting a cup of coffee. Can you still file for workers’ compensation?
As a general rule, any injuries suffered on a work-approved break will be covered by workers’ compensation, provided you remain on the premises of your employer for the break. If you leave the facility to get some lunch, any injuries sustained on your commute or while you are at lunch will typically not be covered. However, if you eat your lunch in an onsite cafeteria, all injuries will be covered by work comp.
If you leave the premises, but engage in activities on behalf of your employer while away from work, you may still be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if your employer asks you to drop something off at the post office, or to pick up lunch for others, any injuries suffered during that break will make you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits
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