Under federal law, your employer is required to provide you with worker’s compensation coverage. This means that if you are injured on the job, your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs must be covered either by your employer themselves or by a worker’s compensation insurance company.
Unfortunately, some employers try to deny benefits even when you have a legitimate claim. They may claim that since the accident was your fault, you are not eligible for coverage or may claim that your injuries were not severe enough for payment. It is important to understand what constitutes a legitimate worker’s compensation case so that you can protect your rights.
What Is Covered
Any injury, while you are at work, should be covered under worker’s compensation. If you fall down a flight of stairs and break your arm, it is considered a worker’s compensation injury. If a stack of boxes falls from a shelf and you injure your back, it is a legitimate worker’s compensation injury. Some repetitive movement injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are also covered under worker’s compensation.
In most cases, even if you are injured, and the accident was your fault, you may still be covered. If you and a co-worker were involved in horseplay at work that led to your injury, worker’s compensation may still cover the injury. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, worker’s compensation may deny your claim depending on the policies of your company. Self-inflicted injuries are not normally covered either.
If you travel during the work day, driving between job sites or locations, worker’s compensation may cover any injuries you sustain in an auto accident during your daily assignments.
However, you are not covered for an accident that occurs on your way to or from work, and it will not cover your injuries if you are on your lunch hour unless you are asked to perform business duties during that lunch hour. If for example, you routinely make a bank deposit while you are out at lunch, you may be covered under worker’s compensation.
Illnesses Caused by Job Duties
Although it is sometimes difficult to prove, illnesses caused by exposure to substances through your regular job duties may be compensable under worker’s compensation. Some workplace substances are known carcinogens, such as asbestos, and chronic exposure to them can lead to serious, even terminal, illnesses.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, asthma or other illnesses, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation. For these types of cases, it is advised that you seek an attorney’s advice to determine your best course of action.
Whenever you are injured at work, it is advised that you contact an attorney who can best advise you on your rights under the law. Hiring an attorney from Oxner + Permar LLC or a similar firm does not mean you plan to sue your employer. In fact, in some states, you are not permitted to sue for a workplace injury.
Instead, an attorney will advise you what steps to take and help you get the compensation you deserve. It is also critical to see a doctor as soon after the injury as possible to obtain documentation for your case.