Is my employer liable if I'm injured while at lunch, but still on the clock?

by A
(Kenly, NC)

I do not have to punch in and out for lunch, but I do not get paid for lunch. I left during my lunch break to get something for lunch when I was injured. I slipped and fell as I was getting out of my car at a Subway, which is across the street.

I was injured and ended up having to go to a hospital and get stitches. Is my employer responsible for my bills because I was still on the clock, but at lunch? Could this be a workers' comp claim? Or do I file a claim with Subway, or the parking lot owner? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Is my employer liable if I'm injured while at lunch, but still on the clock?":

A (Kenly, NC):

In most cases, employers and their insurance companies are not liable for injuries to workers which occur during lunch hours. This is the case whether the lunch break took place off premises or on premises, such as in a company sponsored or owned cafeteria.

If though, at an employer’s direction, a worker is performing his or her work duties off premises during a lunch break, the employer would be liable and workers' comp insurance benefits will normally apply.

In your case, you were not performing your work duties at the time you were injured. As a result, you are likely not covered by workers' compensation.

If you were to recover any compensation from Subway, you will have to prove Subway was negligent. From the facts you present, there was no apparent negligence. You slipped and fell while getting out of your car.

Unless you slipped because there was a pothole, oil on the parking lot, snow, ice, or other condition which should have been remedied, then Subway would probably not be liable for your injury.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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