Workplace injuries occur far more often than many people realize. The state’s Workers’ Compensation Board has assembled about 170,000 claims each of the past four years, which is a significant number.
We don’t know the exact circumstances of each of these claims, such as how the injuries occurred. However, in most situations, it does not matter. That’s because workers’ compensation benefits are not tied to who was at fault.
How did the injury happen? It’s often irrelevant
Workers’ compensation, to put it simply, is a no-fault system. What does this mean?
Essentially, how the injury occurred is not important when it comes to securing benefits. It does not matter if you, a coworker or even your employer caused the accident that resulted in your injury. The workers’ compensation claim is not affected one way or the other, and the benefits will not increase or decrease based on fault.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind, however.
First, if a worker was intoxicated when the injury occurred, they may lose their right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Second, if someone intentionally tried to harm themselves or someone else, it can affect eligibility for workers’ comp.
What can go wrong?
Even though workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, an insurance provider can make things difficult. They may try to argue you are not actually an employee, for example, or that your injury was not work-related. These things would make you ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
These types of allegations can lead to disputes, where the injured employee is left to collect disability – not workers’ comp – while the case is sorted out. Insurance companies and employers want to minimize the damage, and may resort to aggressive tactics that leave the injured worker facing a significant shortfall.
If you suffer an on-the-job injury, it’s important to follow all required steps and take the time to understand the actual value of your injury. This can help ensure you receive the financial support which you are rightfully owed.