IS YOUR INJURY WORK RELATED?

If you've sustained a job-related injury, your employer may be responsible for helping you with lost wages or other accommodations. Most employers are required by laws in each state to carry workers' compensation insurance, which pays a portion of an employee's regular wages while they're recovering from a work-related injury or illness.

 

However, some types of workers, including independent contractors and railroad workers, aren't covered by these workers' compensation laws.

 

Also, in some rare instances, employees may sue employers in court for injuries resulting from willful violations of safety regulations.

 

Examples would include extreme cases of negligence; a failure to carry the required amount of workers' compensation insurance; and other limited cases.

Before you file a claim for workers' compensation or seek other employer-provided relief, make sure your injury truly is work-related, which generally means it happened while you were doing your work duties or something else on behalf of your employer.

 

This may also include company parties, picnics, or other social events sponsored by your employer but not necessarily on company-owned property.

 

Additionally, your employer's workers' compensation policy may cover job-related injuries even if you were disregarding workplace safety rules (such as "horseplay" on the job). State workers' comp laws, and even courts within some states, are divided on this.

 

Below are some other considerations when determining whether your injury is work-related, for purposes of workers' compensation claims or other actions:

  • An injury that occurred during a lunch break is typically not considered work-related unless it occurs in a company cafeteria or otherwise involves your employer in some way;

  • Even if alcohol contributes to an injury, it may still be considered work-related if it occurred during a work-sponsored event such as a holiday party;

  • A preexisting condition that is worsened on the job is usually considered work-related;

  • Mental conditions are treated the same as physical injuries if they're determined to be sustained on the job or as a result of your job.

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