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Does workers’ compensation cover accidents on breaks?

Workers’ compensation covers injuries and illnesses you sustain while on the job. To qualify for benefits, you have to suffer an injury or illness during work. Workers’ compensation does not cover incidents that occur on your way to and from work or any time you are not on the clock unless you are doing something in furtherance of your employment.  Simply stated, doing some type of work during your commute. This does bring up the question about work breaks and whether coverage applies during them. 

JDSupra reports that in the case Frett v. State Farm Employee Worker’ Compensation, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a decision that allowed for you to make workers’ compensation claims for some injuries you incur during a scheduled break at work. 

The ruling

Prior to the Frett case, the Court’s standing on work breaks was they were not on-the-clock time. Therefore, they did not count as covered time under workers’ compensation law. The ruling requires careful assessment and investigation about break injuries to determine if they receive coverage or not. 

The ruling follows the rule of ingress and egress, which provides coverage for the time going to and coming back from a break. Unlike going to and from work, the ingress and egress time receives coverage under this new ruling. The rules remain the same, though, for travel to and from work. 

An analysis

It is still possible for your employer’s insurer to raise the objection on a claim that you were not working at the time of the injury if you sustain an injury while on a break. An investigation into the situation will consider factors such as whether you were on the employer’s property at the time and at what point in your break period the injury occurred. 

You should note, though, that if the injury occurs during your break time when you are off the clock, immersed in your break period, not on call and not doing any work, then it does not have coverage under the workers’ compensation laws. 

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