No workplace is risk-free. Whether you’re a mechanic on an industrial site or typing at an office desk all day, there is a chance you suffer an injury. Even in situations where the injury is not serious, you may still require some time away from work to recover.
This is where workers’ compensation should trigger. But what happens if you were injured as the result of an accident – and this accident was at least partially your fault?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system
When an on-the-job injury occurs, how it happened generally does not matter for workers’ compensation purposes. That’s because workers’ comp is a no-fault system. No matter who was at fault, workers’ compensation insurance should pay out the proper benefits.
There are exceptions.
If the injured worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it may result in the injury not being covered by workers’ compensation. Involvement in a physical altercation not related to work may also threaten a workers’ compensation claim. And injuries suffered at work, but not while actually doing the job, may also be problematic. That can include things that happen while on break, while in the parking lot, while arriving to or leaving from the job, or while taking part in a social, recreational activity for personal pleasure.
The rules are supposed to protect everyone
Theoretically, workers’ compensation provides some assurances to both workers and their employers. The worker can secure benefits if injured on the job, regardless of how it happens; and in exchange, the employer generally is protected from liability lawsuits.
In reality, workers who were hurt while on the job often get the short end of the stick. Claims may be denied, settlement offers might be paltry, or benefits could get cut off far earlier than is fair. When this occurs, it is workers who must fight for what is right in order to secure the benefits they are owed.