Workers occasionally assume that the only injuries that workers’ compensation covers are for catastrophic accidents. This is definitely not the case. You may be surprised to learn that workers’ compensation covers a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.
In some cases, mental injuries, aggravation of prior injuries or conditions, and long-term conditions caused by repetition may be compensated. Even long-term illnesses that are work related are often covered. Workers’ compensation always offers death benefits for those killed on the job. A Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer can tell you more, but some of the basic concepts regarding which injuries are covered are included below.
General Requirement: Work-Related Injuries
To get benefits from workers’ compensation, your injury must be work related. This does not mean that it necessarily must have occurred on the work premises. However, in most situations, you should have been engaging in work-related or work-sponsored activities at the time of the injury. Read more about whether your injury is considered work-related here.
There are situations where injuries will not be covered, even if they occurred on an employer’s premises.
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries that were the result of a fight that you caused
- Injuries that occurred while the employee was committing a crime
- Injuries that occurred while the employee was violating company policy
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Some workers are surprised to learn that what they assume is a side effect of getting older may really be a work injury. Many workers’ compensation injuries occur after years of work doing the same motions, often at the same job, but not necessarily. The back is one of the most common long-term problems that employees report. Even if there is no triggering injury, the back will deteriorate over time as workers repeatedly bend, lift, and twist.
Injuries like the back example are sometimes referred to as repetitive stress injuries, cumulative trauma injuries, or repeated motion injuries. The concept is all the same—after engaging in the same actions for a long period of time, the body eventually begins to wear out. Joint problems are often the result of this type of injury, including the wrists, fingers, and knees.
Certain occupations carry special risks of contracting an illness or disease. If your job increases your chances of acquiring a certain disease, then you may be covered under workers’ compensation for medical payments and other related expenses to combat the illness. Lung problems are particularly common.
Getting More Information
The only way to truly know whether your work injury should be covered under Massachusetts workers’ compensation law is to speak with an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer. Every case is different, so your lawyer will need to hear the details of your situation to make a recommendation.
Do not assume that because the insurance company says that you are not covered that they are right. The insurance company may attempt to tell you that you do not have a claim when, in fact, you do. Keep in mind that the insurance company is trying to spend as little money on you as possible, so they do not have your best interests in mind.