If you are injured in the workplace, you would assume that you would be able to file for and collect workers’ compensation to help offset your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, just because you were injured at the workplace doesn’t mean you’re always entitled to benefits. Insurance companies didn’t become profit giants by paying out every claim, and they can rightfully deny your request for compensation if certain factors or circumstances were involved in your case. Below, we take a look at some of the things that could render you ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the wake of a work accident.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Exemptions
If an investigation into the accident reveals that any of these factors are present, don’t be surprised if your claim is denied or you are told that you are ineligible for compensation.
1. Intoxication – If it is revealed that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the work accident, you may be ineligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. With that said, intoxication doesn’t automatically preclude you from benefits. You will need to prove that your intoxication did not contribute to the accident in order to win compensation. For example, if you were drunk and fell off a ladder, it will be tough to collect compensation, but if you were drunk and a rung on the ladder snapped and you fell, you would likely be able to get compensation because it was an underlying equipment failure that led to your injuries.
2. Horseplay – If you were rough-housing with a co-worker in the warehouse and you tripped over a pallet and hurt your elbow, you’re going to find it tough to get an approved injury claim. If two co-workers were rough-housing and knocked you off a ladder, you could collect compensation, but if you were wrestling with them and dislocated your shoulder, you would be ineligible for benefits.
3. Working From Home – As we covered in a previous blog, work from home injuries could possibly be covered under workers’ compensation, but it will be an uphill battle. If you were hurt while letting your dog outside or carrying laundry upstairs, you won’t be able to collect compensation, but if your injuries were directly related to your work from home duties, you may have a case. Either way, you’ll want to talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer.
4. Intentional – Even if you are injured during the course of your employment, you’ll be ruled ineligible for benefits if it turns out that your actions were intentional. Deliberately injuring yourself in order to collect workers’ compensation constitutes fraud, which can land you in even more trouble. Injuring yourself on accident is compensable, like if you accidentally struck your hand with a hammer, but if you intentionally created a spill so that you could slip on it and claim back pain, you won’t get benefits, and you could even end up in jail.
5. During Your Commute – Finally, if you were injured en route to your job or on the way home, odds are you will not be eligible for compensation. Exceptions to this rule include being injured in your office parking lot or being injured during commutes between job sites. But if you are involved in a car accident driving to work or on your way home after a shift, you’ll likely be ineligible for benefits.
If you have questions about your workers’ compensation eligibility, or you want professional help filing and collecting compensation, reach out to the team of lawyers at Hey Workers today.