Employee Found Disabled During Lunch Time Accident

Recently the Michigan Court of Appeals heard the case of VanVorst v. Maxitrol Co., 2008 WL 1959801(Mich.App.,2008).

This case arises out of plaintiff’s trip and fall at work during her lunch break on July 15, 2004. When the bell rang to signal the beginning of the lunch break, plaintiff went back to her machine to retrieve her silverware. While doing so, her right foot caught on something that stuck out into the walkway and caused her to fall. As a result of her fall, plaintiff suffered fractures to her right arm, right knee, and left shoulder.

MCL 418.301(3) provides, “[a]n employee going to or from his or her work, while on the premises where the employee’s work is to be performed, and within a reasonable time before and after his or her working hours, is presumed to be in the course of his or her employment. Notwithstanding this presumption, an injury incurred in the pursuit of an activity the major purpose of which is social or recreational is not covered under this act. Any cause of action brought for such an injury is not subject to section 131.”

Generally speaking, an employee who suffers a “personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment” is entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. MCL 418.301(1). The employee bears the burden of proving both a personal injury and a relationship between the injury and the workplace. Eversman v. Concrete Cutting & Breaking, 463 Mich. 86, 92; 614 NW2d 862 (2000).

The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the workers’ compensation magistrate and held, “in the present case, plaintiff was injured on her lunch period while on her employer’s premises and preparing to eat. Under Haller, supra, plaintiff’s on-premises lunch is considered an act of her employment, or of service to her employer, and is therefore not an activity “the major purpose of which is social or recreational.” Consequently, the WCAC’s ultimate conclusion that plaintiff’s injuries arose out of and in the course of her employment and are compensable was not erroneous.

The attorneys at Allan W. Ben P.C. have many years of experience in the area of Michigan Workers’ Compensation and are here to help you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.