Workers’ compensation is a benefit system intended to aid workers who become ill, are injured, or die while performing work-related duties. Workers’ comp is not just for accidents and is commonly claimed for injuries caused by repeated physical movement. Conditions like emphysema that can become worse or aggravated by workplace conditions might also be covered under a workers’ comp claim. Psychological effects caused by job stress can sometimes be compensated as well.
Injuries covered under workers’ comp include:
- Repetitive Stress Injury: The most rapidly growing category of workplace injury. Common areas afflicted include the wrists, hands, and forearms.
- Stress-Related Injury: Can result from repetitive or sudden, traumatic events experienced while on the job. These types of injuries are increasingly being recognized by the courts.
- Occupational Illness: This happens when the nature of the work increases an employee’s chances of suffering from an occupational disease.
- Worker’s Death: Dependents of a worker who dies from a work-related injury or illness are eligible to collect workers’ comp benefits. The possibility of suicide or murder is usually ignored by the courts unless there is strong evidence that the death qualifies as one or the other.
Other than a few exceptions, any injury that occurs in connection to your work can potentially be covered. As long as the injury occurred “in the course of employment,” employees are protected by workers’ compensation. This does not include trips to and from work. For workers’ comp purposes, the legal definition of when you are working has expanded in recent years. As a result, a greater number of injuries can now be covered.
Are Injuries Covered If I’m at Fault?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning it does not matter if you were carless at the time of the injury. However, employees who hurt themselves fighting or while intoxicated can be rejected as being outside the criteria of work-related activity. Injury caused by an employee’s misconduct can also be restricted under workers’ compensation law. Intentionally self-inflicted injuries are not covered, nor are injuries sustained by someone who started a fight or engaged in horseplay that was clearly discouraged by the employer.