Some workplace injuries are the result of a true accident. There is a freak occurrence that no one could predict or prevent, and someone gets hurt as a result. However, most workplace incidents are the result of some kind of fault.
Sometimes there is a defective tool that causes a worker to get hurt. Other times, there is a wet spot on the floor and someone slips down a flight of stairs. Occasionally, workers injured on the job are actually at fault for the incident in which they got hurt.
Maybe you felt rushed to finish unloading a trailer by the end of your shift, and you failed to use appropriate lifting techniques as a result. Perhaps you tried to cross the factory floor while responding to a supervisor’s text message or you burned yourself because someone called your name. If there is evidence that you are to blame for your own workplace injury, can you still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?
Most injured workers can still file a claim even when at fault
The good news for those who get hurt at work through their own mistakes is that generally their workplace failings will not affect their right to receive workers’ compensation coverage. Even if there is security camera footage of you dropping a knife on your own foot, you can still receive disability benefits and medical coverage through workers’ compensation.
The no-fault nature of the benefits means that successful claims require neither evidence of your own innocence related to the injury or proof that your employer failed somehow. Still, there may be three situations in which causing your own injury could affect your claim.
When may your fault affect your benefits?
If you came to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol and your chemical intoxication is the reason that you end up getting hurt, your employer could potentially use a chemical test as part of a defense against your claim.
Similarly, if there’s video footage or testimony from coworkers that will support your employer’s claim that you hurt yourself on purpose, possibly to claim benefits, that may impact your claim. Finally, in scenarios where a worker’s actions directly violate company policy, they may have a harder time getting benefits for any injuries that result.
Educating yourself about the limitations on workers’ compensation claims can make it easier for you to determine if you qualify for benefits.