Workers are left with many questions after an injury. One of them may even be “Does my injury count?” Sometimes, this question may be hard to answer, but there are general guidelines one can follow before making the decision to file a claim.
“Work-Related” Has a Broad Definition
Workers’ compensation covers injuries that happen as a result of your job, but this simple rule can be stretched to fit a wide variety of scenarios, some more strange than others. Practically, work-related injuries include both on-site accidents and off-site accidents that occur while the worker is performing company business. However, they may also include injuries sustained from playing on company sports teams or caused by consuming company products while on the job. If your employer was involved in any way, it’s good to ask.
Work Can Be Risky
Some jobs carry an inherent risk, and sustaining injuries that are highly connected to that type of job make filing a claim for workers’ compensation much easier. Known as occupational illnesses, these medical problems are directly caused by some aspect of the work performed. For example, if you have a job removing asbestos from old buildings and develop mesothelioma, no medical professional will wonder how it happened. Similarly, if you bend down and lift heavy boxes all day and notice a massive increase in debilitating back pain, a physician will make the connection quickly. These types of repetitive motion injuries are frequently covered by workers’ compensation.
Certain jobs, such as firefighting or policing, are known to come with stressful demands and the potential for incredibly traumatic events. But really, any job can be significantly stressful under the right conditions, and this stress can drastically alter your higher functioning. Post-traumatic stress disorder, crippling anxiety, and mood disorders can all stem from the mental demands of a job, and can all be covered. Even stress-induced physical problems can be covered, such as heart attacks or ulcers.
Covering Your Family
Many workers are the sole breadwinner of their household, and a loss would be devastating. In the event that a worker does not survive an accident, their family is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, often without much difficulty. Provided that the death was not ruled a suicide or murder, the immediate family may file for compensation from the company.
It Can Be Your Fault
While there are admittedly some situations where being exclusively at fault for an injury may disqualify you from seeking benefits, workers’ compensation is essentially a no-fault system. Historically, this is because lawsuits were the only method of receiving compensation for an injury before the advent of workers’ compensation. In order to rid the process of the burden of proving the employer was at fault, a new system was made. Lawsuits are not exactly unheard of, but the current workers’ compensation system is much more practical.