Workers compensation law was created to provide benefits to worker employees that suffer work related injuries. There are two main types of injuries which are covered by workers comp. I refer to as “Instant" and “Long Term".
These are injuries that happen in an instant. They can result from an accident, a malfunctioning machine, or they just simply happen. For example, a fellow worker is driving a forklift, and just like a car accident, he fails to stop, and you are injured. Another example would be where you are driving the forklift, the breaks fail, and you are injured. A third example would be where a fellow worker is driving a forklift, the load simply falls off, and injures you. All three injuries would have happened in an instant and would be covered by workers compensation insurance.
The key is that the injury occurs while performing work that is within the scope of your employment. Most injuries that you suffer during work hours at your work place are covered. Work place includes places where you perform installation or repair services. Accidents that occur going to and from your employer's place of business to a work site are generally covered. But going to and from your home to a work place are normally not covered by workers comp.
Some injuries suffered at work may not be covered by workers comp insurance. The most common reasons are:
- Outside the scope of your employment. For example, you work in the office. At lunch time, you decide to talk to a friend who works in the factory. As you walk through the factory, you are hurt. Because you were hurt outside the scope of your employment, your injury would not be covered by workers compensation.
- Horseplay. For example, you and a fellow worker are playing around and you get hurt. Your injury would not be covered by workers comp insurance because you would not be hurt if you had not been playing around.
- Self intoxication from drugs or alcohol. If you are impaired by either drugs or alcohol and are hurt, your injury would not be covered by workers compensation insurance because you would not be hurt if you had not been impaired.
- Failure to use safety equipment supplied by your employer. There is a reason that your employer gives you safety equipment. If you are injured because you were not using the safety equipment, then you injury will not be covered.
Long Term Injuries
I refer to these injuries as long term because they do not occur instantly, but occur over a long period of time. These types of injuries include occupational diseases and physical and emotional problems which result from job related activity.
Occupational diseases are diseases or conditions which result from exposure to harmful substances in your work place. A prime example is “brown lung".
Physical and emotional problems are injuries or conditions which result from work requirements or pressures. A good example is work which requires a repetitive motion which causes carpal tunnel.
Occupational diseases and physical and emotional problems which result from job related activity are covered by workers compensation insurance.
This is general information only. If you have any questions whatsoever about workers compensation or whether or not your injury is covered by workers compensation insurance, talk with a lawyer licensed in your state.
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