Determining if an Injury is Work Related

Determining if an Injury is Work Related

Employees who find themselves dealing with an injury or illness related to a workplace accident often have difficulty proving that the incident occurred on the job. Because determining if an injury is work related is a key factor in receiving benefits, this is a crucial point. Some situations make it unclear whether the employee was acting as a representative of the employer when the accident occurred. Attorneys with experience in handling workers’ compensation cases can help you determine whether your injury or illness qualifies you for benefits.

Potential Situations
If you were injured in a situation that creates a gray area when it comes to workers’ compensation rights, you need to evaluate the situation to determine whether the incident was truly related to the job. Listed below are some common situations that make a workers’ compensation claim tricky.

Lunch Breaks
The law dictates that injuries sustained while an employee is at lunch and away from the workplace are not covered by workers’ compensation. However, how does the law handle situations in which an employee is still at the workplace during a lunch break?

If you are staying at the job site during breaks in order to benefit your employer, injuries sustained during your break will be covered by workers’ comp. Employees who leave during their lunch break to run errands for their employer or pick up lunch for a manager would also be covered by workers’ comp.

Special Events
Special events including sports outings for company leagues and holiday parties are part of the typical work year for many employees. Injuries during sports games are common, and parties could get out of hand in a way that results in an accident that injures one or more employees. Any injuries sustained during special events related to the job are covered by workers’ compensation.

Work-Related Travel
Traveling while representing your company allows you to be covered by workers’ compensation. However, normal commutes are not covered. For example, a person who is in an accident while driving to work will not be able to collect benefits if an injury occurs. An employee who is injured while attending an out-of-town business convention would be covered.

Misconduct At Work
Breaking the rules at work may result in a loss of workers’ compensation coverage, but some employees are still able to collect benefits depending on the details of the situation. Employees who are engaging in misconduct at work may still be covered if an injury occurs when a manager is aware of the misconduct and does nothing to stop it. Violations of safety rules that are minor in nature typically allow an employee to be covered by workers’ compensation.

It is important to note that employees are not allowed to sue their employers for injuries sustained at work if misconduct was involved. Employees who are injured while engaging in misconduct should consult an attorney to determine whether their unique situation qualifies them for benefits.

Preexisting Conditions
Workers’ compensation benefits may be collected for injuries related to a preexisting condition if the condition is exasperated by work activities. For example, a back injury that is made worse by heavy lifting required at work could be covered by workers’ comp.

Work-Related Mental Conditions
Mental conditions that can be traced to workplace incidents may be covered by workers’ compensation. Unusual amounts of stress and workplace trauma are two instances in which an employee will be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for mental health treatments.

Illness
Some employees suffer from long-term illness because they are exposed to dangerous conditions at work. For example, workers who are exposed to asbestos at work may develop cancer. Long-term treatment for illnesses that develop as a result of workplace conditions is covered by workers’ compensation.

Getting Help Determining if an Injury is Work Related

Even if you do not think that you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you should consult an attorney after sustaining an injury related to work. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you fight for the compensation you need to pay for immediate and ongoing medical treatment.