Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
Being hurt or becoming sick while working can be devastating, especially if you are unable to work for a period of time after that. When you’re involved in an accident that seems like your fault, it is often because of a combination of preventable things that added up to your illness or injury. Regardless, in the United States, workers’ compensation is paid no matter who was at fault. If you decide to take workers’ comp payments, you are giving up your right to sue your employer later on. While each state varies slightly in their laws about benefits, they are all basically “no-fault”.
Misconduct in the Workplace
While it may not matter who was ultimately at fault for the incident you’re involved in, there are some things that could cause you to be disqualified for your benefits.
Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs: If you are found to have alcohol or drugs in your system at the time of the accident, there is a good chance you may not get workers’ comp unless you have a skilled lawyer.
Fighting or playing around: Messing around with other employees during the workday that ends up in an accident could disqualify you from benefits. If you started a fight and injured another employee, they might be eligible to receive benefits, and vice-versa. Generally, if your actions were far outside your line of work, there is a chance you will pay for your injuries yourself.
One exception to the rule about goofing off or messing around during work hours is if this type of behavior is common and is not discouraged by your employer. In this case, you may still be covered, but you will likely need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer in Milwaukee, WI, to help prove your case.
Are You Covered?
It’s good to be aware if you are actually categorized as an employee with your job because not all types of employee categorizations are covered under workers’ comp. if your employer takes taxes out of your paycheck, you are likely an “employee”. However, you may not be covered if you are an:
- Independent contractor
- Seasonal or casual worker
- Undocumented worker
- A farmworker, especially on a small farm
- A domestic worker such as childcare, gardener, or housekeeper
Some injuries that happen at work are simple to prove and then begin collecting workers’ comp. If you’ve been involved in a situation that is more extreme, including significant injuries or illness, or if the incident involved unusual circumstances where your claim could go either way, it is recommended that you consult with a workers’ comp attorney. They will understand what kind of evidence you need to prove your case, as well as the document filing deadlines that you must meet for your state.
Thanks to Hickey & Turim for their insight into determining whether or not an individual is eligible for workers’ compensation if an injury was their fault.