Workers' Compensation and Injuries

Can I Still Get Workers’ Comp Benefits If I Caused My Own Injury?

When an employee is injured at work, thankfully, they have workers’ compensation to cover them. This means they can feel safe knowing that if something were to happen to them, they wouldn’t have to worry about their medical bills or being out of work for a while.

However, an employee may be wondering if they’d still be eligible for workers’ comp if the injury were their fault. For instance, maybe their cell phone went off while they were operating heavy machinery, and they got distracted and broke their arm. Or maybe they were talking to a colleague instead of paying attention to where they were going, and they accidentally slammed into a doorway.

A number of different scenarios could have occurred. If you were injured at work and believe you were to blame for your injury, don’t fret: You may still be entitled to workers’ compensation.

How Workers’ Compensation Operates

Employers sign up for workers’ comp so that if an employee becomes injured on the job, the employee cannot turn around and sue them. This protects employers and, even if the accident was your fault, it could protect you, too. This is because workers’ comp is “no fault,” meaning that the party who is essentially at fault for the incident does not matter. You could still potentially get workers’ comp.

There are some exceptions, however. For instance, if you were intoxicated, fooling around, or fighting on the job, then you may not be entitled to workers’ comp. Another scenario that might cause you to lose your right to file for workers’ comp is if you were extremely negligent. Perhaps you were using machinery to play a practical joke on another employee even though you knew it was wrong, for example. In this case, if you got injured, your medical bills and other damages could end up being your responsibility.

But as long as you weren’t engaging in any of these activities and the injury occurred while you were on the job, then you could possibly get benefits.

What to Do if You Get Injured at Work

Whether or not an accident was your fault, if you get injured at work, you need to take these steps right away to ensure you will have the best chance at receiving workers’ comp.

The first thing to do is tell your boss about your injury as soon as it happens. Make sure you fill out a written report of the incident and get a copy of it. If you wait too long to file a report, you may lose out on your opportunity to receive compensation.

After you’ve filled out your report, go to the hospital for a full check-up. Don’t wait to receive medical care because your condition might be more serious than you think. Plus, you’re going to need proof of your injury. If your doctor prescribes you medicine, make sure you take it, and go to any specialists your doctor refers you to so you can get better as soon as possible.

How Much Workers’ Comp Will I Receive?

There is no way to predict exactly how much workers’ comp will be awarded to you. The first factor is your state laws. You could be eligible for what’s called regular time loss compensation benefits if you cannot work because you have industrial injuries. You will receive a percentage of your wages starting from when your injury happened. In a number of states, the percentage is 66 2/3%.

You could also receive loss of earning power benefits if you can go back to work on a temporary basis in a different and lower-paying job at your company. For instance, maybe you can go in two days a week and work as an assistant instead of a head of your department. With workers’ comp, you could receive the difference in pay between your current and former wages.

Another possibility is that you’ll receive money to put towards your medical bills, as long as you’re undergoing a treatment that is covered in your state. If you were totally or permanently disabled because of your injury and you cannot go back to work at all, then you could receive a workers’ compensation pension, also called a life pension. You will likely receive a percentage of your former wages on a periodic basis like once a month or once a week. It all depends on your state’s rules.

Conclusion

Before you decide that you shouldn’t apply for workers’ comp because you caused your injury, you need to read up on the laws of your state. As long as there wasn’t any foul play going on, you could receive the benefits you need while you’re out of work and on the road to recovery.

Were you denied workers’ compensation benefits, or you need help getting approved? An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help get you the benefits you deserve. Get in touch with a workers’ comp attorney in your area today.

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