Suppose you have been injured at work in an accident that was your fault. You are probably wondering, “Am I eligible for workers compensation wages?” The quick answer is, quite possibly. This is because workers compensation is a “no fault system”, which means that any time you are injured while performing your job, even if the injury is a result of your own negligence or recklessness, you are eligible to file a workers compensation claim.
In most cases it doesn’t make any difference whose fault the accident was, and as a result you should be eligible to receive weekly payments and medical benefits for your injury. However, there are a few circumstances where your workers compensation case may be rejected:
- If you were intoxicated when you were hurt
- If you hurt yourself on purpose
- If you hurt yourself while you were ‘horsing around’
- If you were hurt by someone who was mad at you for personal reasons
While a workers compensation lawyer can explain specifically what constitutes a workers compensation injury, for the most part it can be defined by the following questions:
- Are you an employee?
- Did you sustain an injury?
- Did the injury:
- Happen while you were employed;
- Occur as a result of performing your job function; and
- Cause you to be impaired and/or lose wages
If the answer to the above questions is “yes,” most likely you are eligible to file a workers compensation claim. However, the flip side of the no-fault system is that you may not sue your employer or coworker for the workplace injury, and you are limited to the benefits provided by your state’s workers compensation system. However, if there was an employer safety violation, there may be additional benefits, and a good workers compensation lawyer can outline your options and guide you through the process.
So what benefits am I eligible for if you have been injured at work? The benefits available in a workers compensation claim include:
- Medical Care: Injured employees are entitled to receive all necessary first aid, medical, surgical and hospital services required to treat the effects of the injury or disease.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits: These benefits are paid to the injured employee who must lose time from work to recover from a work-related injury or disease.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits: This is the complete or partial loss of use of a part of the body, or the partial loss of use of the body as a whole.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits: This benefit covers a complete disability which renders the employee permanently unable to do any kind of work for which there is reasonable stable employment market or the loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, both eyes, or any two such parts.
- Survivors Benefits: In the event that the work-related injury or disease results in the death of the employee, his or her spouse and children are entitled to full benefits. Benefits are paid to children under the age of 18, or until age 25 if a full-time student, or if physically or mentally handicapped for the duration of the incapacity.
- Settlement: In addition to workers compensation wages and benefits, a lump settlement is a contract between the employee and the employer to close a claim in exchange for an agreed-upon amount of compensation and medical services.
If you are still wondering, ‘Am I eligible?’ and aren’t sure if your work-related injury should be covered by workers compensation, you should look to a workers compensation lawyer. They have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process of filing a claim. This process is about more than just collecting workers compensation wages, you need to make sure that your security and the security of your family is in good hands!