#ill #workers #comp
Injured on lunch break: Does employee get workers comp?
An employee was on an allowed lunch break. When he went just across the street from where he was working to eat his sandwich, he was injured. Should he get workers comp benefits?
Herman Huggins, a bricklayer, left his work site, bought a sandwich and sat down in a municipal bus shelter to eat it. The shelter was across the street from the work site.
A glass panel in the shelter collapsed on him, causing various injuries.
Huggins filed for workers comp benefits. A Workers Compensation Law Judge found that he sustained an injury arising out of and in the course of his employment and awarded benefits.
On appeal, the Workers Compensation Board reversed the ruling.
Huggins took his case to a New York state appeals court.
New York s workers compensation law states, Lunchtime injuries are generally deemed to occur outside the scope of employment except under limited circumstances where the employer continues to exercise authority over the employees during the lunch break.
Huggins argued that his employer maintained control over him during his lunch break because if one of the foreman saw him and wanted him back they would tell him to come back since he was just across the street.
The court didn t buy that argument. It noted that he wasn t required to carry a beeper, nor was he told where to eat his lunch.
Huggins also contended that his injury occurred sufficiently close to his work site to qualify as compensable.
Once again, the court said, No.
His third argument involved a theory on what caused the bus shelter to collapse: vibrations from the work site.
The court called that entirely speculative.
Having dismissed all his arguments, the court upheld the commission s ruling and denied him workers comp benefits for his injuries.
What do you think about the court s ruling? Let me know in the Comments Box below.
(Huggins v. Masonry . Appellate Div. of the Supreme Court of NY, No. 509560, 4/28/2011)
Safe T. Proff says:
That was the correct ruling from the appeals court. I don t understand how this was even discussed. Look, if a guy is off the clock and allowed to go wherever he wants for lunch, he s basically on his own. ESPECIALLY if he decides to go off-site! Had this accident happened, say while sitting on a roof of the building he was working on, then maybe he had a case against the company for allowing this to happen (having lunch on the roof). But in this case, it should have been a no-brainer. It s guys like this that sue companies for not labeling their COFFEE cups that the coffee may be hot (duh!)
am agree with you cecilia and the courts ruling against this employee good score in our site because if the court have awared this case 20% of employees may be cliaming work injuries at lunch time
I agree totally with the ruling. The employee was on his unpaid lunch, on his own, away from work. Worker s comp is for employees that are injured at work, conducting work duties. Okay. Case closed.
I think the ruling during the appeal was correct. Why should a business s workmans comp. have to cover an hourly employee who is not on a jobsite, company property, in a company vehicle, or doing anything related to his job duites. It was his lunch break which means off the clock . Sorry it happened to him, but some things are plain and simply accidents. I beleive there should be reasonable and modest caps on ALL types of suites. So it is not an attractive thing for those trying to take advantage of the system. More personal responsibility and common sense judgements would go a long way in reducing everyones cost for insurance!
Ha, GOOD its about time a company wins one. Sue happy people, maybe he can try again and say he didnt get enough attention when he was a kid from his mother and its the company s fault, pffffft.
PO’d Safety Guy says:
The WC Law Judge that first awarded benefits needs to be removed. That is a ridiculous ruling and a reason comp costs in NYS are prohibitively high. The Board got it right for a change.
Simon You re kidding, right?
Safety Coord says:
How can employer control what an employee does on their lunch time? In some companies, employees work out in their company s weight room or go on a run during their lunch break. That is an employee s decision and an employer should not be liable for any injury sustained during these periods when an employee is not engaged in work related activities.
Someone finally applied the law (and common sense) to workers comp benefits and rightfully denied benefits to a frivolous claim. Maybe this decision will send a message to that small minority who are always scheming on how to file these types of claims. They re not only a waste of everyone s time, but also undermine the American workforce.
I agree with Safety Guy. The employee should have gone after the municipality whose bus shelter was so precariously built that the potential vibrations from construction across the street was enough to shatter the glass bus shelter. How sturdy was this bus shelter? And why make it of glass? Why not plexiglass? Did the city offer him any compensation?
We had an employee take a morning break, saw a pretty snake that he was gonna take home to his kid, puts the snake in his lunch box . lunchtime the dude reaches into his lunch box and got bit turned out the snake was a poisonous coral snake worker comp paid out $20K to make it go away, against my argument that the snake had nothing to do with the employees job description. The scumbag attorneys that are all over the boob tube telling the workers that they will represent the worker are the real problem and our carrier paid out cause their attorney fees would equal or better the payout! the system SUCKS!
Short term solution finacially by the TPA. Definately not work related. The long term effects of that settlement further entrenches the philosophy that if I scream hard enough and hire a lawyer I GET PAID.
Patricia Mejias says:
Although I sympothize for your situation, in my opinion, the employer is in no way responsible or accountable for the accident. This is a situation where the accountability lies with the driver that struck you, who apparently fled the scene. A person with integrity would use thier personal health insurance, who can choose to pursue an investigation against the driver or, if in their best interest cost wise pay thier share of your health care. One can also hire a personal lawyer to persue the driver of the vehicle. OR for those with little concious / integrity can do the dishonest thing and pursue a workers comp case against the employer who had nothing to do with the driver of the car or the intersection which was being crossed at the time. Hopefully if that avenue is chosen, the victim would have to shell out time and money and gain absolutely nothing, and hopefully, be prosecuted for attempted fraud of the Workers Comp System.