Illinois law provides workers’ compensation for work-related injuries, regardless of whose fault it is. Workers in Illinois often fare better than those in other states because Illinois law tends to be more worker-friendly. However, there are limitations, and the insurance companies deny claims, or try to deny claims, where the injury is not clearly work related.

If you get injured on your lunch break, it may or may not be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. It comes down to where you were and what you were doing. It will work in your favor if you were still at your place of work, if you can prove that you were doing something for your employer at the time, or if you were exposed to a workplace hazard that the general public is not exposed to. It might not matter if you were actually clocked out or taking a personal break at the time.

On the other hand, if you clocked out, left the building, got in your car and went to pick up a pizza, then a car accident on the way back would not be a work injury in most cases. If your boss asked you to go pick up a pizza, that would be a different story, with the key being the fact that you were doing something for the benefit of your employer. However, if you are out on your own lunch break, you aren’t accountable to your employer and they can’t be held responsible for any injuries that result.

Another exception to be aware of is whether you’re considered a traveling employee. This status isn’t just for employees to drive around to different places all day. Traveling employees are more likely to get workers’ compensation for injuries outside of the workplace. 

When it comes to lunch break injuries, whether you had physically punched your time card is not the main consideration. Individual circumstances are taken into account. This makes more sense than a hard and fast rule, but it also makes the outcome of each case difficult to predict. Let us know if you have any questions.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand