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During the work day there are often many opportunities to be injured. Depending on people’s jobs, dangers could lurk near machinery, in the form of slippery floors or in a cubical from repetitive motions. However, many people often don’t consider the time taken for a break to be a particularly hazardous; yet, workers can be and are injured while taking breaks.
Recently, in the case of Richard Potter Jr. vs. VM Paolozzi Imports Inc., an appellate court in New York had to decide whether a worker who sustained injuries while on break was entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. And, according to the court, he was. In the Potter case, a worker asked his supervisor if he could take a break and use his personal vehicle to go and pick up lunch.
Permission was granted, but while returning to work, he was involved in an automobile accident. The appeals court agreed with the Workers’ Compensation Board that short breaks are not an interruption of employment because they are “closely related” to workers “performance of the job,” according to Insurance Journal.
The appeals court also found that this particular employer routinely allowed workers leave the premises while on break. And, in this case, the employee had only been gone a short while and was on his way back to work when he was injured. In general, workers who are injured during the workday – whether while performing their job or while on break – will be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
However, each case is different and the determination of whether an employee injured while on break will be entitled to benefits or not will depend on the unique facts of the case. If you are an employee who has been injured while working in New York, you may be entitled to benefits to help you while you are recovering. Speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you are seeking benefits or have had your benefits request denied.