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Knowing When an Injury is Work-Related—Part One

Helping Your Client Know Whether He or She Has a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you’re a licensed attorney in the state of New York, but you don’t handle workers’ compensation claims, you still want to be able to give your clients direction if they’ve been hurt on the job. At the law office of Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani, we have more than 50 years of collective experience successfully handling workers’ compensation claims. We’ve prepared this series of blogs to help other attorneys assess whether to refer a client to a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer.

Determining Whether an Injury is “Work-Related”

In the state of New York, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, a person must meet two criteria:

  • The person must have been hurt
  • The injury must have occurred while the person was performing duties associated with his or her job

In many instances, it’s clear whether the two tests have been met. There are, however, situations where there may be questions, where an employer might allege that an injury was not work-related.

  • Injuries occurring during a break—Under labor laws, employees are entitled to periodic breaks, including a meal break if working more than a certain number of hours. As a general rule, if you are injured in the break room at work during the hours you’re on the job, the injury is covered (unless it was intentionally self-inflicted or you were engaged in horseplay or other behavior that violated company policy). If you slip and fall in the company cafeteria, that’s generally covered, too. However, if you leave your employer’s premises to go for a meal, you generally won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries suffered on other property or on the trip to or from the office. The exception—if you left the employer’s premises at the request of a supervisor (to get lunch for others or to run a specific errand).
  • Injuries while traveling for work—For most workers, the commute to and from work is not considered work time and any injuries suffered then won’t be covered. However, if your employer asks you to make a diversion from your route to or from work to perform a work-related task, you are covered for any injuries sustained on that diversion.

If travel is a part of your job, you’ll generally be covered for any injuries you sustain while on the road or visiting with customers. If you are required to periodically travel for work—to a conference or to meet with a client/customer—your injuries may or may not be covered, depending on what you were doing. If you’re out to dinner with a prospective or existing customer, most injuries will be covered. If,  however, you are engaged in a wholly personal activity—working out at the gym or taking in a show by yourself—it’s not likely that you’ll qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Effective Workers’ Compensation Lawyers—Queens | New York City

At Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani, we offer more than five decades of combined workers’ compensation experience to injured workers throughout the greater New York City area, including the borough of Queens. We built our successful practice on a commitment to the highest levels of personal service and attention, making certain we know the details of your injury, so that we can fully protect your rights. We work closely with colleagues in the legal profession, offering our experience, skills, knowledge and resources to your clients who have been hurt on the job.

We handle all types of work injury cases, including claims involving:

Occupational Illness or Disease | Back and Neck Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | Fractures | Burns | Paralysis | Spinal Cord Injury | Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement | Amputation or Loss of Limb | Shoulder, Arm, Hand and Finger Injury | Hip, Leg, Foot and Toe Injury | Hearing or Vision Loss | Accidental Death

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page.

Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys—Queens, New York