Injured on Break? One of the more common times of a work injury is during breaks.
For many these incidents do not seem to be the type workers comp would cover, however in Maryland many if not most work injuries that take place during lunch, breakfast, dinner or other break times are covered.
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Here is one particular work injury case Mr. Rodabaugh handled and recovered a substantial settlement
A medical clinic routinely allowed its employees to leave for two 15 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. On the particular day of the work injury the employee left at the regular break time to go and purchase a breakfast meal. Injured Worker crossed the street directly in front of the employers premises, entered the parking lot of the sandwich cafe, and tripped on a curb. The employee sustained a hip fracture which required immediate surgery consisting of steal rods and screws. After a month of in patient therapy the injured worker was discharged home and recovered after nearly one year.
The Maryland workers compensation insurer declined to cover lost wages and medical expenses for Injured Worker and challenged the case at the workers comp commission. Mr. Rodabaugh successfully argued that the injury was covered under the personal comfort exception. The personal comfort rule states in part that if the break is beneficial to the employer by increasing job production and overall happiness of the employee then it will be a compensable Maryland workers compensation claim. Generally speaking a work injury sustained while an employee is going to work or coming home from work are not covered. There are numerous exceptions to this rule including the personal comfort rule.
In Mr. Rodabaugh’s hip injury case the operative facts were:
The employees were allowed to take these breaks regularly,
The breaks were set for fixed intervals,
The breaks were regulated by the employer,
Often the employee that was leaving would get food for other workers,
There were never any disciplinary actions by the employer for taking these breaks,
The employees stayed relatively close to the employers premises because of the fixed intervals.
This particular Maryland workers compensation case went on to settle for nearly six figures. The injuries sustained and many other factors come into play when calculating what a Maryland work injury case may be worth but often choice of attorney can make a difference!
In another case Mr. Rodabaugh was successful in obtaining benefits for an injured employee while on break:
The Maryland workers compensation insurer declined to cover an injury that was sustained by an employee walking from his car in the parking lot to the building that was nearly 20 feet away. The employee stepped on the curb and it crumbled leading to injury. After a hearing before the workers compensation commission Mr. Rodabaugh was able to ensure benefits were paid for by the workers comp insurer.
Why does workers comp challenge cases of workers being injured while on break
In many instances the law is not completely clear as to entitled to workers compensation benefits when an employee is injured while on break. This is certainly one of the “gray” areas of law that unfortunately usually require legal proceedings. Compounding the complexity of the break time injury cases is the fact that their may be a workers compensation adjuster that is not exactly well rehearsed as to what is covered under Maryland workers compensation laws.
To contact Mr. Rodabaugh for a free Maryland workers compensation Attorney consultation go here.