If you fall sick or sustain injuries while carrying out duties inside or outside your place of work, that is considered a job-related injury. Such types of injuries are supposed to be compensated for. However, there are certain exceptions, for which you cannot be compensated. This is because several states have their varying provisions and exceptions for when you can be compensated. A lawyer can help you understand your state’s guidelines on matters workers’ compensation rules. This article looks at what is considered a job-related injury.
- Injuries and illnesses
Bodily physical injuries that happen because of the nature of work you do at the employer’s premises are covered under the workers’ compensation rule. Such injuries include injuries from slips and falls, painful extremities due to the frequent lifting of heavy loads to higher grounds. They could also be in the form of chronic pain for example back pains that take too long to disappear, after carrying heavy loads at work. Chronic back pain could also be because of long sitting hours at the office desk. Illnesses and health conditions that occur when discharging your duties at work are also covered under the workers’ comp rule. Such illnesses could result from inhaling pollutants and farm chemicals, which could result in respiratory-related conditions like asthma and allergies. Injuries are easier to prove that they indeed occurred at work because they are instant, but illnesses, on the other hand, may be hard to prove that they occurred because of the nature of your job.
- Injuries Sustained During Company Events
Under the workers’ comp rule, injuries that occur during company organized events should be compensated for. Such events include company parties, dinners, and team building events. However, for injuries during these events to fall under work-related rule, they must be those that are approved and organized by the employer. If for example, a group of employees organized to go for a picnic and invited their employers, injuries sustained during such an event cannot be considered work-related, hence cannot be compensated for. This is because even though the event may look and sound like a company event, it was not organized and sanctioned by the employer.
- Injuries Sustained During Lunch Break
Injuries sustained while going out for lunch away from the company’s premises does not fall under the work-related injury category and cannot be compensated for. An example is when you decide to go for lunch at a joint across and you happen to trip and hurt your leg. It can only be covered under the workers’ comp rule if your employer also sent you to buy them lunch, together with your own. However, injuries sustained when having lunch at the company’s café are considered work-related and are thus compensated for.
- Injuries Sustained During Travel
There are jobs whose nature involves traveling when transacting business on behalf of the company, for example, salesmen and delivery drivers. Injuries and illnesses sustained in the course of this kind of travel can be said to be work-related so they are covered under the workers’ comp rule. Even so, the injury must have occurred only during the working hours as provided for by the company’s requirements. In addition, the rule does not cover for injuries sustained during travel if you happen to be intoxicated, misbehaving and knowingly putting yourself in harm’s way. It may be a little challenging to prove if any of this misconduct happened, but companies too, have private investigators and lawyers to prove this.
- Injuries Sustained Through Employee Misconduct
Worker’s comp rule states that injuries during an employee’s misconduct cannot be compensated for. Misconduct, in this case, is defined as going to work when intoxicated, accessing unauthorized areas, playing around and knowingly doing things that could jeopardize your safety. It also includes misbehaving and knowingly put yourself in harm’s way while traveling to transact business on behalf of the company. However, there is an exception when you can be compensated. This is if you happened to be involved in misconduct under the watch of the employer and they did nothing. However, not all states allow for this exception, so check with your lawyer.
It is best to be aware of the laws in your state regarding workers compensation.