Workers’ compensation law is designed to cover a wide swath of injuries in order to give employees some sort of recourse in exchange for not being able to sue their employers. Loads of injuries are automatically covered, but nonetheless some are still excluded. When you have been injured on the job and are considering a worker’s compensation claim, the first step is to make sure your injury would be covered. Here is a brief summary of the conditions that are and are not covered by workers’ compensation laws.
Workers’ compensation law essentially covers injuries that meet two different criteria: injuries that “arise out of” and “in the course of” employment. In other words, your injury must have occurred while you were on the job and have occurred as a result of your job. Seems simple, right? Well it’s actually surprisingly complicated. There aren’t really any clear-cut tests for either of these requirements, but generally injuries that occur while you were at work and working are covered as part of workers’ compensation.
Types of Injuries
Here are some of the commonly-covered types of injuries:
- Aggravated pre-existing conditions: Employers often use pre-existing conditions as an excuse to deny claims. However, while they are not required to pay for any pre-existing conditions themselves, they are required to cover any re-aggravation of pre-existing conditions until you have recovered to the point where you were before the re-aggravation injury.
- Occupational diseases: Occupational diseases are illnesses or other conditions that may be acquired due to a risk factor associated with your job. One of the most well-known risk factors is asbestos, which leads to mesothelioma. However, these injuries can also be psychological, including nervousness due to long-term stress.
- Off-Work activities: Does your company have an annual picnic? What about a Christmas party? These are all technically not part of your normal work duties, but they are considered a work-related function, and that means any injuries you sustain at that event could possibly be covered. This is especially true if the injury happens while the event is being held on company property.
- Off-work aggravation of a work injury: If you receive a work injury and then re-aggravate it while not at work, your employer is still required to cover the re-aggravation. However, if the injury occurs due to negligence that breaks the connection with the previous condition, then the injury is no longer covered.
- Pranks & horseplay: Injuries sustained through pranks, horseplay, or otherwise reckless behavior while on the job are not generally covered as part of workers’ compensation. However, any injuries to third parties who were not involved with the prank in any way but who happen to be injured as a result of the prank generally are covered.
Injured on the job? Call an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Offices of Nathanial F. Hansford, LLC today! Dial (770) 629-9321 for a free consultation.