Some workers are injured at the job site through no fault of their own, while others suffer an injury as a direct result of their actions. You might think that being the cause of your own work injury would prevent you from obtaining for workers’ compensation, but you’d be wrong. That being said, there are some actions you can take that can make you ineligible for compensation. Today, we explain why you can still collect workers’ compensation even if you caused your work injury, and what factors make you ineligible.
Causing Your Own Work Injury
Workers’ compensation was designed to compensate injured workers even if they are partially or fully at fault for their injury. It may sound odd that you can be 100 percent at fault for your injury and still receive compensation, but the fact of the matter is that the employee was not trying to injure themselves, so even though they caused the injury, they can still receive relief. For example, if a roofer misses a nail and hits his thumb with a hammer, breaking his finger, nobody would argue that anyone but the roofer is at fault, yet since it was not a negligent act, he could still apply for workers’ compensation.
With that said, there are some exceptions to this rule. Many states will not pay a claim to an employee who caused their own injury if one of these three factors is present:
It was Intentional
If evidence if found that reveals the employee intentionally caused an injury to themselves in order to collect a workers’ compensation claim, their claim will be denied. There is an exception to this rule if a workers’ compensation lawyer can prove that excessive stress or a previous work injury contributed to a mental mindset that led the employee to decide to injure themselves.
Under the Influence
If a worker is found to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs at the time of the event that caused the injury, a claim will be reduced or denied. Once it’s established that you were under the influence at the time of the injury, the burden of proof shifts to the employee to prove that their intoxication did not contribute to the injury.
Direct Violation of a Company Safety Policy
This reason is a little more open to interpretation, but if an employee directly violates an expressly specified company policy, and that contributes to the injury, benefits may be reduced or denied. For example, if a construction worker is required to wear a hard hat at all times while on the job site, and they fail to do so and are struck in the head by a falling tape measure from a two stories up, they may have their claim reduced or denied.
As you can see, all of these factors have exceptions or points that need to be proved in order to receive your claim, which is why it is so important to hire a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to help fight your case.
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