Workers’ compensation is a benefit for workers. To receive this benefit, you will have to demonstrate that your workers’ compensation claim is directly related to your work requirements.
This often means that your injury occurred on-the-job and while engaging in the tasks associated with your specific job description. However, the requirement to have work-related injuries is not as clear cut as you might think, and discussing the specific facts of your case with a workers’ compensation lawyer is important to determine whether your injury was work related.
Gray Areas for Consideration
You may be surprised at how far workers’ compensation coverage can extend. Things that you think might not be work-related, actually are—including travel and work-sponsored picnics.
- Company-Sponsored Events
When you are injured at a work-sponsored meeting, party, picnic, or baseball game, no matter the cause, you are usually covered by workers’ compensation. This is especially true if attendance at the event is required.
- Lunch Breaks
Usually any injury or illness that occurs while you are on a lunch break is not covered under workers’ compensation. However, this general rule may not apply if you are having your lunch break on your employer’s premises, especially if you are not permitted to leave to go get lunch.
If you were going off the premises and also picking up lunch for your boss as part of your directed work responsibility, then this activity might be covered. Shorter breaks where you continue to be on the employer’s premises may also be covered in some situations.
Your daily commute to and from your work location usually isn’t covered by workers’ compensation. However, if your travel is required as part of your job, you are on the clock the minute you climb into the vehicle, or you drive a company vehicle, then workers’ compensation will probably be in effect.
Even if you are injured when breaking a workplace safety rule, your injury might still be covered by workers’ compensation, depending on your level of misconduct. This is because fault is not considered in workers’ compensation law. The real question is only whether an injury occurred.
- Preexisting Conditions
A work-related injury is probably covered by workers’ compensation, even if you have a preexisting condition that your work tasks aggravated or exacerbated. Although the condition was not caused by your current work-related tasks, the tasks certainly irritated or caused the reoccurrence. The aggravation would be covered, but the treatment that you would have had anyway because of your original condition would not be covered.
- Diseases and illnesses
Most of us are familiar with illnesses related to exposure to asbestos or coal dust; these are recognized environmental illnesses. In other cases, it can be difficult to prove that an illness or disease is a work-related injury or just something that would have happened anyway. However, if you can provide proof that your disease or illness is the result of work-related activity, then you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation.
Getting the Legal Help You Need
A good workers’ compensation lawyer will work closely with you to determine whether you have sustained work-related injuries. Jim Glaser Law can help. Contact us today.