Auto Workers Injured on Lunch Breaks

Lawyers for Chicago Employees Injured On the Job

In Illinois, workers’ compensation is available for job-related injuries, irrespective of fault. Often Illinois law is more amenable to workers’ claims than other states’ laws are. However, insurers do deny valid claims. They may try to deny a claim based on when or where the accident took place. For auto workers injured on lunch breaks, obtaining benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system may be difficult. Generally, if you can show you were doing something for your employer on your lunch break or exposed to a job-related hazard that others not working there weren’t exposed to, you could be eligible for benefits. It’s advisable to consult a knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether your claim may be successful.

Auto Workers Injured on Lunch Breaks

Injuries employees sustain on lunch breaks may or may not be covered by workers’ compensation. Your employer must let you take a meal period for 20 minutes if you have to work 7 ½ consecutive hours. They don’t need to pay you, and the break is supposed to be given to you within 5 hours of when you started work. Other than this, federal standards apply, and under federal law, there is no lunch break or other break requirement. When a break is less than 20 minutes, it should be paid.

Given how short lunch breaks may be for an auto worker, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for an injury sustained during the break. It works in your favor if you ate lunch within the manufacturing plant or an office and suffered the injury onsite.

Factors Determining Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Some auto workers may receive longer breaks, so they may leave the manufacturing plant, shop, or office to eat lunch elsewhere. If you drove out to get tacos and were hit by a car on your way out or back to work, you probably couldn’t get workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained in the collision. However, if there was a party for one of your co-workers’ birthdays, and your boss asked you to grab a cake for an informal celebration while you were out on your lunch break, and while getting the cake you were hit by a car and injured, the situation is analyzed differently. In that case, because you were acting for your employer’s benefit, you will probably be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The unique circumstances of your situation may matter and these types of claims can be unpredictable.

There is also a separate rule for travel. If you are an employee such as a sales worker in the auto industry traveling for work and you suffer injuries on a lunch break, you may be more likely to get benefits for your injuries because the entire trip is for the employer’s benefit. A seasoned work injury lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case the likelihood that you will be able to recover benefits.

Location of Accident 

Where the accident happens may also matter. Illinois workers’ compensation law allows auto workers to get medical benefits and disability benefits for injuries suffered in accidents that arise out of and in the course of employment. So when you are hurt doing something that benefits your employer, you should be able to get benefits for your injuries, but where you were when you got hurt can be influential.

If you were in a work cafeteria and suffered broken bones due to a slip and fall accident, you might have a stronger case for workers’ compensation benefits. The same slip and fall at a restaurant during an hour-long break might not count. On the other hand, if you were grabbing lunch for everyone on your team or meeting with a client, these are work lunches, and you’d be more likely to get benefits.

Skillful Chicago Attorneys for Workers’ Compensation Claims

For auto workers injured on lunch breaks, the nuances of claims for benefits can be difficult to navigate, which is one reason it can be important to talk to an experienced lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent injured auto workers in Chicago, Rockford, Quincy, Champaign, and Aurora, as well as Winnebago, Adams, Kane, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.