If you have ever known someone who has dealt with the workers’ compensation system, you have probably heard that it can be bureaucratic and frustrating. Some workplace injuries seem straightforward and deserving of compensation, yet they are contested through multiple levels of appeal.
A recent case is a good example of this problem. Although it did not occur here in Minnesota, it is the type of problem that workers face all over the United States. And it illustrates why it can be so important to seek the help of a good workers’ compensation attorney.
Slip-and-fall during lunch break
The case involved a woman in Georgia who worked for a well-known insurance company. During her lunch break one day, she had just finished microwaving her food and was carrying it to eat outside when she slipped and fell in the breakroom. There was water on the floor, creating a slip-and-fall hazard. This all happened after the woman had clocked out, because the lunch break was unpaid.
Multiple frustrating appeals
Although she was technically off the clock at the time of the accident, she decided to file a workers’ compensation claim and was initially awarded benefits. Her claim was appealed, and the State Board of Workers’ Compensation decided to deny the claim. A state superior court confirmed the denial. Finally, it was appealed to the state supreme court, which held that the woman was entitled to benefits after all.
The case hinged on the fact that the woman was off the clock and on her lunch break when the accident happened. The supreme court ultimately decided that although she was clocked out, eating lunch during the middle of the workday was “incidental to her employment,” and therefore, her injury should be covered.
Why hire an attorney?
Workers’ compensation should be a convenient system that allows workers to claim financial help and medical care after being injured at work. Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies often try to find any reason to deny a claim in order to save money and maximize profits.
If you have been injured at work here in Minnesota and have any concerns about getting your claim approved, it may be wise to seek representation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you build the strongest possible case for why you deserve compensation.