Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case Discusses Lunchtime Injury

When someone is injured on the job, that person may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, provided certain requirements are in place. Many workplace injuries can be very easily connected with regular job functions, which can help workers show that they were injured while they were working.

However, there are instances where employers may contest certain injuries by saying they did not occur while on-the-job. A recent Pennsylvania case discussed a worker who was injured while at lunch.

The man, who was a professor, was meeting with a Ph.D. candidate to discuss the individual’s thesis. They would meet at a restaurant to discuss items related to the dissertation. On this particular day, they met early in the morning and planned on being at the restaurant all day.

At noon, the professor stated it was time to eat. The Ph.D. candidate went to the salad bar, and heard a loud crash. The professor had tripped over something in the restaurant, and was in great pain.

When examined by doctors, it was determined that the professor had a broken shoulder. He was not in the best of health before the injury, and the new issues eventually led to his death.

The family had requested benefits, contending that the professor’s injury happened during work. The employers contested this request, instead saying that the injury occurred off of their premises during an employee’s lunch break.

The court determined that the man’s injury happened during the course of employment, and therefore, it must review whether the injuries that resulted contributed to his death. A doctor that testified at trial explained that the man’s poor health took a turn for the worse when the broken shoulder occurred. It led to increased stress, which caused vital organs to fail.

Not every lunchtime injury will be eligible for benefits. Each situation is different, and it will be important to discuss the facts of each injury to know the options that may be available.

Source: Pennsylvania State University v. W.C.A.B., August 15, 2012.