If you’re injured on the job, you may be looking at a windfall of expenses including doctor’s bills, pharmacy bills, lost wages, etc. Thankfully, workers’ compensation insurance was created to defray these costs. It covers most occupational injuries regardless of who was at fault, but there are a few exceptions.
Here are some common Q&As to help you better understand the scope and limitations of workers’ compensation benefits.
What if I was not injured at a company facility?
If you sustained your injury while you were working for your employer, it would likely be covered—even if you weren’t on company premises. You might be in a company vehicle delivering packages, traveling between job sites for inspections in your own car, or putting on a special event for your company at a local conference center. Regardless of the setting, as long as your injuries were directly related to your job, you should still be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
What if I was under the influence?
If your injury resulted from your being impaired by drugs or alcohol while on the job, you may be disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Talk to a workers’ compensation attorney if you find yourself in this situation.
What if I wasn’t obeying company safety policies?
Most workplaces have written and implied safety rules. These may include wearing the proper gear when operating certain equipment and staying out of areas that are clearly designated as unsafe. If an employer can prove that an employee violated these rules, they may be able to limit or deny workers’ compensation payments.
What if I was injured at a work-related social event?
If you are injured at a holiday party or company picnic, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation. If you were required to attend or if your employer benefited in some way from your being at the event, the scales are more likely to tip in your favor.
Does workers’ compensation cover mental injuries, too?
While we tend to think of workers’ comp injuries as being physical only, certain work environments can induce mental distress, including depression and anxiety. If you can prove that these conditions were caused or intensified by your work activities, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Does workers’ compensation cover disease?
In addition to occupational injury, there is something known as occupational disease. A miner who is constantly breathing in traces of silica (the most common mineral found in the earth) may develop lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A construction worker may get sinus cancer from wood dust or mesothelioma (another form of cancer) from asbestos exposure. If you can show that these diseases were caused by your work, you will likely get workers’ compensation.
Too many people deal with the repercussions of work-related injury and illness on their own without tapping into the resources to help them stay afloat financially and heal physically. If you are unsure if your work injury qualifies for benefits, consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The rules governing workers’ comp are complicated and ever-changing. A qualified attorney can help you navigate these laws skillfully and come out on top.