If you are injured on the job or have an illness as a result of your job you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries that occur while in the course of employment. This could include a fall or other type of accident that causes injury. Workers’ compensation insurance also covers injuries resulting from repetitive motions like back strain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Injuries sustained on-the-clock, at the workplace, or at a work-sponsored event are all generally covered by workers’ compensation.
Whether an injury or illness is work-related entitling one to workers compensation benefits is not always a clear cut issue. Where the injury or illness occurs and what you were doing at the time can impact whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, injuries that occur while you are on the clock and performing duties assigned to you by your employer are covered by workers’ compensation.
If you are injured at a company-sponsored event, whether it is a company party, picnic, or kickball game, you may also be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Likewise, if you are injured or sustain an illness while traveling as part of your assigned duties—whether it is driving to the office supply store to pick up printer paper or flying across the country for a sales meeting, your injury or illness may also be covered by workers’ compensation.
Gray areas exist when it comes to extra-curricular type activities that occur away from your regular worksite, but that you fulfill as an employee of your company. If you are unsure whether your injury or illness will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you should consult an attorney and get a professional opinion.
You are likely still eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, even if the injury or illness is a result of your own negligence. Just because you were injured due to a distraction, failure to follow operating instructions or company rules, who is at fault for an injury is generally not considered when determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
There are exceptions to this rule—including whether the injury was the result of drug or alcohol use or the injury was self-inflicted. This can be a confusing and very gray area for both you and your employer. If there is a question as to whether benefits should be paid due to negligence or fault, your best option to is work with a workers’ compensation attorney.
There are certain instances in which you may have the ability to sue your employer outside the workers’ compensation program. These instances are not common, and include injuries as a result of the employer’s failure to follow state or federal law, and employer retaliation against employees who pursue workers’ compensation claims. Talk to a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible if you believe you may need to sue your employer for compensation.
Jonathan W. Harris, at Baker & Harris Law Office in Blackfoot specializes in Workers’ compensation in Idaho. Schedule a FREE consultation with Jonathan Harris at Baker & Harris Law to discuss your workman compensation questions today.