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Can I Get Workers' Comp For Food Poisoning At Work?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Your job may be full of hazards, such as heavy boxes and dangerous machinery. However, did you ever expect the hazard to come from that tasty hamburger you had at the company cafeteria?

Food poisoning doesn't just hurt your stomach. It can hurt your wallet when you have to miss work and pay to see the doctor.

So, if you get food poisoning at work, can you get workers' compensation?

To get workers' comp, an injury must be work related, caused during the course of employment. If you can show that the food poisoning was work related, then yes, you can get workers' compensation

However, it's extremely hard to prove. It is easy to show that your back sprain was a result of your duties restocking shelves. Showing that the food poisoning was caused by your work is a whole other matter. Your food poisoning may be work related if:

  • The employer supplied the food. - If you got food poisoning from leftovers you brought from home, then you don't qualify for workers' comp. However, if the employer provided you the food as part of your wages, then any injuries from eating that food is job related.
  • The employer sold food in a cafeteria strictly for employees. - If your employer has a cafeteria area open to the public where local caterers or food trucks come to sell food, any injury from eating that food is not work related. However, if the caterers were hired to sell food in a cafeteria strictly for employees, then any food poisoning resulting from eating in the cafeteria could be considered work related.
  • The employer received a benefit from you eating the food. - If you're a food critic, and it's your job to taste food, then the food poisoning would clearly be caused by your work duties. You would be eligible for workers' compensation.

How to Apply?

If you believe that you have a work related injury, you should immediately see a doctor, get your injury diagnosed, and get treated. Documentation from your doctor will help you prove your claim for workers' comp later on.

As soon as you've suffered the injury, don't forget to notify your employer of the injury. Some states only allow you a short time to notify your employer before you lose your right to make a claim.

Once you've notified your employer, you should receive forms to fill out to make a claim for workers' compensation. In some states, you have as little as one year after an injury to file a claim.

If you've suffered work related food poisoning, and need help making a claim, an experienced workers' compensation attorney will be able to help.

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