You know that your company is obligated to provide workers’ comp in case you get hurt on the job. An injury happens, and it’s very clear that you weren’t injured at home or anything of that nature. You’re not trying to defraud the system. You’re just trying to get the benefits that you deserve while you recover because you have suffered a work-related injury.
But then your employer denies your request to file a report. They say that you were at fault and so that means that you can’t get any compensation. Is it fair for them to blame you and to challenge your ability to collect benefits in this way?
It doesn’t matter if you were at fault, in most cases
Generally speaking, fault isn’t considered when workers’ comp cases are being resolved. It is a no-fault system. As a result, even if you made a mistake at work, you should still be covered if you were injured while performing your job. Odds are that your boss is simply confused about the workers’ comp system and is comparing it to other types of injury cases. For instance, when someone gets injured in a car accident, fault is a very key distinction. An at-fault driver is likely going to be responsible for the costs that they have created. If you were at fault, you cannot sue the other driver for your injuries. But this fault-based approach does not apply to most workers’ comp cases.
Two potential exceptions
There are some rare exceptions in which you may not be eligible for workers’ comp if you were at fault. For example, if you were engaging in horseplay, perhaps while pulling a prank or simply acting in a way that you reasonably knew was unsafe, you may be denied benefits. Additionally, if you were intoxicated or impaired by drugs, you may invalidate your own claim, even if you didn’t intentionally cause an injury.
But, most of the time, you should simply be covered regardless of who was at fault for your work-related harm. Make sure that you know what steps you can take to seek the benefits you deserve. Working with a legal professional can provide this clarity.