Mankato Workers’ Compensation Law Firm
One of the most controversial subjects concerning workers’ compensation is what type of injury or medical condition actually qualifies for a claim. Employers, of course, would like the definition to be as narrow as possible. But in this desire, intentionally or not, they sometimes misrepresent to injured employees about what injuries are covered.
But your employer doesn’t make the laws, and you don’t need their permission to qualify. What you need is a strong application and a lawyer to fight for you.
Today, we are going to clear up some confusion and any underhanded misunderstandings. Let’s go over a quick summary of the various types of injuries that -do- qualify for workers’ compensation. Even if your employer says that they don’t.
Injured While Performing Work Duties
The most obvious of qualifying workplace injuries is the kind that occurs in the course of your duties. When you are lifting a box, operating machinery, or traversing uneven ground that is a normal part of your job, any injuries that happened during those activities are normally covered by your employer’s workers’ comp insurance. These injuries may occur as the result of an unfortunate circumstance, a one-time accidental safety hazard, or a known danger you were lucky to avoid for so long.
What Qualifies as a Workplace Injury for Worker’s Compensation Claims?
However, you don’t have to have a sudden traumatic or painful experience for an injury to qualify. Any physical damage you take in the course of your work duties also counts as a compensation-worthy injury. Carpal tunnel as the result of long hours spent typing, for example, is a workplace injury because you wouldn’t have developed it without diligently performing your work tasks. Other long-term injuries like repetitive motion or joint damage also qualify for worker’s compensation.
Illness Caused by Work Environment
One of the most elusive worker’s comp claim types is illness related to the work environment. Many employers will try to claim plausible deniability, but if your work environment is bad for you and causes health problems, your employer may be responsible. The most common of this variety are environmental illnesses like heavy metal poisoning from handling unsealed materials. Or lung cancer from working in unclean air. Or even a recurring headache condition caused by constant eyestrain from poor facility lighting.
Injured On Workplace Grounds
Sometimes, a workplace injury has nothing to do with your actual job, but is still your employer’s responsibility. If you slip on black ice in the parking lot, for example, this is a compensation-worthy injury because it happened on company grounds. And because your employer could have salted the parking lot to make it safe, but chose not to. And any injury caused by an OSHA violation, like lack of handrails or slippery steps, is also usually a worker’s comp consideration.
Injured by Work Equipment
Your employer’s insurance is also responsible for your worker’s comp claim if you were injured by machinery that belongs to them while using all known safety procedures. Whether the equipment was a forklift or an espresso machine, if it belongs to your employer and you had reason to use it on the job, they are responsible. And yes, they are also responsible for making sure you know what the correct safety procedures are -before- the injury occurs. Retroactive education is not a defense.
Injured As the Result of Work-Related Activities
Anything you do for your job (that was assigned or assumed to be assigned by your employer) can legally count as a workplace circumstance. This means that if you are injured while running errands for your boss, while off-site working with clients, or doing anything else your employer sent you to do and are injured, you are most likely eligible for worker’s compensation.
Injured At a Company Party
Finally, we’d like to take a moment to talk about company parties. Employers often argue bitterly that anything that happens at a social event, or where alcohol is involved, is solely the fault of the person who was injured. These arguments, however, do not apply if you are at an event that is required or sponsored by your employer, and at that event you are expected/allowed to drink. Company parties are officially part of your workplace and job duties. Therefore, injuries at company parties usually qualify for worker’s compensation.
Don’t Face Your Employer’s Compensation Denials Alone, Call Farrish Johnson Law Office
Some employers occasionally try to mislead injured professionals about what does and does not qualify for worker’s compensation. And while it would be nice if the lines were clean and easily defined, the law is written so that any injury that employers could have prevented will also be something they are held responsible for. If you have suffered a workplace injury or harmful medical condition as the result of your job duties or environment, contact us today. Our legal team is ready to help you defend your employee rights and show your employer exactly where your injury qualifies inside the letter of the law.
You don’t have to face your employer’s compensation denials on your own. Contact us today for a consultation on your situation, no matter how resistant your employer may be.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer