If you’ve been injured at work, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Ultimately, this depends on the circumstances in which you were injured.
Typically, any injury occurring on lunch break won’t be covered. For example, if you were walking into another store to get lunch and twisted your ankle, the injury is probably not covered by workers’ compensation. It may, however, be covered if you were picking up lunch for your boss or were in a cafeteria on the premises.
When a company sponsors an event like a baseball game, party or a picnic, an injury that occurs during this event is often covered by workers’ compensation. For example, imagine if you had one too many to drink at an office party and decided to dance with another co-worker. Unfortunately, you twist your ankle, fall and also break your arm on the way down. Fortunately, the injuries will probably be covered.
You usually won’t be covered if injured while traveling to or from work unless you are driving a company vehicle. If you’re traveling on a business trip or as a salesperson without a single work site, then injuries are likely covered.
If you were breaking a company or workplace safety rule, you might still get coverage for the injury under certain circumstances. For example, imagine two co-workers at the factory decide to throw a small but heavy piece of metal around. This is forbidden by the company as no employee should play with equipment. When one employee tries to catch the metal, he’s instead struck in the head and sustains a brain injury. Even though he could have prevented this, it could still be covered–especially if the employer knew and allowed the activity to continue.
If your work exacerbates a preexisting condition, resulting in an injury, you’ll usually be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, imagine that you suffered a knee injury 15 years ago that healed after a few short months. However, your job requires you to lift something heavy, and the knee suddenly ruptures again due to its weakness from the initial injury. Your injury would probably be covered.
People in loud environments will often lose some or all of their hearing over time. The injury is typically covered by workers’ compensation when no other cause for the hearing loss exists.
Job-related mental conditions will be covered. For example, if you were to witness another employee killed on the job, the trauma you’ve suffered would be covered by workers’ compensation. Depression stemming from a workplace injury can also be covered. However, it’s important to note that it’s hard to prove the cause and presence of mental conditions, so an attorney is necessary rat this stage.
If you develop an illness or disease as a result of your work, you should receive workers’ compensation. The best example of this includes workers who were exposed to asbestos and have developed asbestosis. Another example would be those who work in coal mines and develop black lung disease. Outside of these examples, it’s also hard to prove the cause of a disease as something that wouldn’t have occurred on its own anyway.
When to File
When you’ve suffered an injury due to work, it’s best to file the workers’ compensation as soon as possible. Make the claim at the first moment possible following the injury or illness as any sort of delay could hurt the case or even delay payments.
Mark Sadaka is a Workers’ Compensation lawyer who represents numerous clients from around the country. Sadaka’s firm has the resources and expertise necessary to successfully handle these complex cases. Go to Sadaka Firm if you have any Workers’ Compensation questions.